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The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must Revised Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 155 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1451608113
ISBN-10: 145160811X
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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

Zubrin is an aeronautical engineer at Martin Marietta, Wagner the former editor of the National Space Society's magazine, Ad Astra, and together they make a forceful argument for the exploration and settlement of Mars. Zubrin has long advocated the ``Mars Direct'' plan, which could get off the ground for $30 billion, in contrast to the $450- billion Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) timidly proposed by President Bush and quickly torpedoed in Congress. SEI was to take 30 years and make use of a space station (where components of the mission would be assembled), and it featured elaborate safety plans. But this is the frontier, Zubrin says, and risk is inherent when we venture forth. The most radical feature of the Mars Direct plan is the manufacture of propellants (for getting around while there and for getting back) on the surface of Mars by an unmanned module before the arrival of astronauts. But Zubrin and Wagner's discussion makes this idea, and the plan in general, seem reasonable rather than radical, and their plan would clearly save money. A mission that doesn't have to carry return fuel could use rockets that already exist, such as the Russian Energia. Mars Direct would also utilize conjunction trajectories (that is, launches when Mars is in line with Earth outward from the sun), avoiding the opposition trajectories the SEI plan advocated, and it allows for much more time to be spent exploring the surface of Mars. The authors are propagandists, so dismissive of NASA's plans that they call them ``silly,'' but they are persuasive and even demonstrate a shrewd grasp of political realities, going so far as to incorporate Newt Gingrich's thinking with regard to privatizing the Mars Direct mission. With exposure on CNN, a vigorous presence on the Internet, and a new groundswell of support at NASA, this plan may well prove to be the one, at long last, to fly. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Zubrin, a senior engineer with Martin Marietta, and science writer Wagner (Inside Compuserve, New Riders, 1995), here present the case for Zubrin's Mars Direct plan for sending manned missions to the Red Planet in the near future. Zubrin proposes to lower dramatically the lift-off weight, and thus the cost, of manned Mars missions by using off-the-shelf hardware whenever possible but especially through a conceptual breakthrough that centers on using in situ Martian resources to manufacture the rocket fuel needed for the return journey. This would eliminate the requirement of hauling the total fuel load from Earth, thereby reducing the cost NASA's "business as usual" approach of $450 billion to $50 billion. It's a visionary proposal, but Zubrin makes a convincing case, arguing that eventually humankind will terraform Mars to make its climate more earthlike for future generations of colonists. The recent discovery of possible ancient Martian microbe fossils, plus the launch of the unmanned Mars Surveyor mission this fall, will likely create demand for this title. Recommended for academic and public libraries.?Thomas J. Frieling, Bainbridge Coll., Ga.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Revised edition (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145160811X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451608113
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Glenn H. Reynolds on July 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
Robert Zubrin is a long-time advocate of space colonization and a former CEO of the National Space Society. He knows what he's talking about. "The Case for Mars" sets out the technological, economic, and -- most intriguingly -- political reasons for expanding human civilization off this planet. Zubrin's plans for terraforming Mars into a near-earthlike climate are the part of the book that has gotten the most attention. But his political rationale for Mars settlement -- that ultimately, freedom requires a frontier and the values that a frontier cultivates -- are the most inspirational part of the book from my perspective. An absolute must-read for space, or freedom, enthusiasts.
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By A Customer on April 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
As an aerospace engineering student highly interested in space exploration (and wishing to go professional with this also) , I really found this book to be a real treat. Definitely was inspiring coming from an author that wishes to advance mankind technologically into the realm of space.. A view that I have concurred with ever since I was in grade school. The book was not just some bored rocket engineer's (or scientist's) science fiction memo, I found his plan extremely plausible and do-able. I especially liked the historical allusions he made throughout the account proving that the grand majority of the technologies used in Mars Direct have been done before in the past(and many for thousands of years). If they have done before, there is no reason why they can not be done again. I loved the clear explanation of his plan. He did not go into too much math , but he gave a clear picture in my mind the concepts involved. Zubrin is very knowledgable and while I was reading this book I knew that what he was saying was well-founded. A MUST READ for those interested in space exploration, astronomy, or aerospace engineering!
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Format: Hardcover
When I first saw the book, I was surprised by its size - it's so thick! It took me two weeks to finish the book, and I love it. I have read many books about space exploration, especially on human Mars exploration, but it is the one which I admire the most. Dr Zubrin is so creative for coming up with a plan called "Mars Direct". This plan is very different from the NASA's "90-Day Report", it involves no orbital assembly, no orbital infrastructure, no orbital rendezvous, and it doesn't need advanced propulsion or any other technology that we don't have, and basically what the approach takes is to explore Mars the way we explore the Earth, which is "travel light, and live off the land". Dr Zubrin explains that we can use this technology by using the resources that can be found on Mars rather than entirely Earth-supplied. I believe "Mars Direct" is the only way to get to Mars, because not only it is the cheapest, but also it is easier to accomplish. Dr Zubrin also explains why a moon base is not needed before the human Mars mission, which many people believe it is a necessary first step toward Mars. I agree, in fact I think his answer is quite convincing.
Later in the book Dr Zubrin explains that we will start colonizing Mars once a region is chosen. Things like carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen which are very useful for human colonization are very common on Mars. Also there are plenty of chemical substances in the soil of Mars which can be used to make metals, or even nuclear reactors for the energy supplies. Compare to the moon, Mars has more useful resources for human colonization, and that's one of the reason why we should go to Mars, not the moon.
Finally Dr Zubrin said in the far future we may "terraform" Mars.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I was frustrated and burned out running a bookstore when I read through this book in less than two days. Right then and there I decided to change careers with the sole purpose of getting humanity to Mars. Now I work in technology and am learning whatever I can to help get us to Mars, not a flag-and-footprints mission like we did for the moon, but a permanent branch of humanity. NASA would have us go slow and leave it to the hands of the "experts," where Zubrin argues that if experts were in charge of Earth colonization we would all still be feeding off each other in Europe.
The science aspects interested me less than the Vision Thing, the idea that we are entering a Golden Age for the Earth at large, in which the problems are solved, the borders are thrown down, and we gradually withdraw into ourselves into decay. The same has happened to Rome and Greece and every other "world"-conquering nation. The day the last challenge was met was the beginning of the end.
We need a Frontier! The challenges of the Frontier will push us, drive us, force us to break stagnate molds and outdated methods. The Earth has run out of frontiers -- Mars beckons!
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Format: Paperback
I read the first edition of Dr. Zubrin's book when it first appeared. Since then I have come to admire greatly his personal qualities of intelligence, technical acumen, commitment, and vision; what he's done to promote a sane, productive, and progressive humans-in-space program is extraordinary. His book makes a clear, convincing case for redirecting the efforts of NASA, in conjunction with private enterprise, toward mounting a "manned" mission to Mars within 10 years. He explains how this is doable and why we owe it to ourselves and our descendants to do it. Zubrin's one of those people who lead the way in human progress, and I hope that everyone who reads this book and agrees with his recommendations will write their representatives and help persuade them to take a look at them and to take action. Zubrin's showing us that we don't have to buy into the creeping paradigm of human limits, that we can use our intelligence and ingenuity to solve our environmental, social, and technological problems and create a positive world of the future. The answers are out there. Going to Mars would help spark interest in our young people to take up careers in science and engineering. Developing that human capital would do more to resolve global problems than anything else. Read this book and feel hopeful again.
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