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Driving to Mars: In the Arctic with NASA on the Human Journey to the Red Planet Paperback – Bargain Price, August 3, 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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During the summers of 2002 and 2003, author and poet Fox (Terra Antarctica) joined scientists at NASA's research camp at the Haughton Crater, a remarkably Mars-like environment on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic where NASA researchers are testing equipment and human capabilities, and designing exploration protocols that may someday be used on Mars. Though the public assumes that Mars exploration and even colonization are inevitable, there are many issues that may make it seem impossible-for example, the exposure to intense radiation during the long, confined spaceflight and the toxic Martian surface environment. Fox's particular interest is in how humans perceive place, relying on their senses; it's no small matter that the protective space suits that astronauts must wear on Mars will deprive them of significant sensory input. Fox is brilliant when explaining how the limitations of human perception and the human need to be in actual contact with one's surroundings can cause potentially catastrophic problems in the exploration of alien terrain. Color photos, including a map of Devon Island, convey the challenging bleakness of the Arctic.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint (August 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593761112
  • ASIN: B001QCX2KG
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,873,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Keith L. Cowing on June 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
When it comes to exploration, there's nothing like being there. Yet at some point, all explorers need to tell others what they have seen - as well as find a way to understand and recall the experience themselves. Exploration is pointless if it is not shared.

The first humans to explore new places would return home with verbal descriptions of where they had been and what they had seen. These stories would fade and lose accuracy with each retelling, yet they still had the power to inform and inspire. Over time, the invention of writing and art allowed these tales to take on a greater amount of clarity.

Soon, professional illustrators and then photographers would be enlisted. Accurate as these captured impressions were - they were just that: captured impressions - by someone else. Of course, the only way to get beyond that barrier is to go to these places and see things for yourself.

Yet even when someone makes the trip, they have to take in what they see before they can appreciate where they are. Some vistas and locations are so utterly alien and novel that explorers need a context with which to integrate what they see. And of course, even the most incredible adventure will fade over time in the mind of an explorer. As such recorded impressions also serve to aid one's own memory of events in years to come.

It is the process whereby explorers put new vistas and experiences into a context they can internalize - and then how these impressions are shared with others that fascinates author William Fox. This book chronicles a writer as he sees things for the first time. Yet it is also a book on polar science, astrobiology, planetary exploration, ecology - and art history.
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Or flying to Mars...Devon is cool spot!
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