- Publisher: Pegasus
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0078XYTQS
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 32 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,409,685 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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He eventually reveals both the amazing scheduling and discovery involved in commanding a Mars mission taking place 100 million miles away and some of the challenges the team faces when dealing with NASA politics and tough mission choices. The day-by-day play-by-play can become a bit tiresome, but this is definitely an interesting book to read for the space enthusiast or the budding Mars researcher.
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.
In it's journal-like style, the reader sees the mission through his eyes and gains a thorough picture of both the engineering challenges and triumphs as well as the relationships between team members, the interaction between the Phoenix team and their superiors at NASA headquarters, and their constant battle to engage the public somehow while resisting the media's thirst for sensational stories, while Kessler's quirky personality keeps the narrative fresh and engaging. A rare book.
Kessler spends one summer in Mission Control getting the fly on the wall perspective on the Phoenix Mars mission. From the beginning he admits that he is not your typical space journalist - he loves space, but doesn't hold a PhD in rocket science. This means he spends paragraphs breaking down complicated scientific jargon into something a liberal arts major would instantly relate to.
Hilarious observations & never-waning enthusiasm for discovery make Martian Summer a wonderful book every Earthling should read.
Mission Control seemed like something only in the movies, not ever imagining I could see a glimpse of in real life. Now I feel like I was part of it.
The most fascinating part to me is the drive and dedication of all the people involved in the Phoenix mission. You see how much work really goes into these missions. I now have a much greater appreciation for everything space, and feel inspired to put their amount of enthusiasm into my life.
You don't need much outer-space/science knowledge because Kessler does a fascinating job explaining "rocket science" to a grade school student. It is a must read if you have even the slightest interest in space, robots, or the life of a freelance scientist.