- Publisher: Pegasus
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0078XYTQS
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,561,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Martian Summer: Robot Arms, Cowboy Spacemen, and My 90 Days with the Phoenix Mars Mission Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Readers will thrill to this slightly offbeat firsthand account of scientific determination and stubborn intellect. Kessler, producer of a Discovery Channel documentary on Mars and the self-professed winner of "the space-nerd lottery," was allowed to shadow the 2009 Phoenix Mars Lander mission, which would make the groundbreaking discovery of water and ice on Mars. A product of NASA's 1990s "faster, cheaper, better" mantra, Phoenix had none of the space program's usual bells and whistles, with a recycled lander and a mission control with a decided "church basement aesthetic." But there was free ice cream. Offered this unique opportunity, Kessler felt some self-doubt and had trouble adjusting to a work schedule set by the long Mars days. But along with his own witty personality, he captures the lively scientists behind the project, from Peter Smith, "world's greatest Martian Photographer," to Matt Robinson, a robot arm expert. Kessler also captures the frustrations and triumphs of a project in which a 15-minute communications lag between Mars and Earth meant anything could go wrong. This behind-the-scenes look delivers a fascinating journey of discovery peppered with humor. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Readers will thrill to this slightly offbeat firsthand account of scientific determination and stubborn intellect...This behind-the-scenes look delivers a fascinating journey of discovery peppered with humor. (Publishers Weekly)
A candid and precise account of the ups and downs of a space mission. This book shows what it is to participate in a short and intense landed Mars expedition. It gives the feel of the pressure and excitement at mission control, where engineers, managers and scientists work together while trying to satisfy contradictory requirements, showing the human side of science with refreshing honesty. (Nilton Renno, Professor of Atmospheric and Space sciences, University of Michigan)
It is as if I imagined Holden Caulfield writing about the mission. Martian Summer is a riot. (Peter Smith, Professor, Lunar and Planetory Laboratory, University of Arizona, and Principal Investigator of the Phoenix Project) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
and knowing many of the participants personally, I was eager to read this account
of the landed operations, although like the mission itself, early results were
The book contains a number of factual errors (e.g. the Cassini camera was not the
first to use CCDs in space, the person referred to as a chief scientist for NASA
was not the NASA Chief Scientist, etc.) which reinforces the impression that the
author doesnt fully understand everything he writes about (an innocence the author
The color photo section is very poorly thought-out: images seemingly chosen at random
and often shown in an aspect ratio that leaves details invisibly small while leaving
60% of the page as white space.
I found the style a bit jarring - while informality is great, it can be overdone (the
author adds a presumably onomatopoeic 'pew pew pew' at just too many mentions of
the LIDAR). Lots of short sentences and paragraphs. In short, written more like a
blog than a book.
All the above aside, this really is a fascinating story of a mission unfolding, warts
and all. The interactions between scientists, and between scientists, engineers, managers
and the media, and the team's (and the author's) fight against fatigue while working
on Mars time, are shown in a first-hand, close quarters account, full of direct
quotes. I'd consider it essential reading for anyone planning a landed mission
on another world.
And because the author is a layman, it's accessible for a normal person. A good story peppered with wit, incredible science, and good ol' fashioned space drama. Highly recommended.
It's a breezy read considering the subject matter. The chapters concerning the discovery of water are particularly thrilling and make me hope that Martian Summer will eventually make for an excellent interplanetary beach read. Irregardless, I imagine when civilians are able to finally visit the red planet, Kessler's book will be prominently featured in the gift shop.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a space program history buff, I have read dozens of books on the subject.Read more