Exploring Mars: Chronicles from a Decade of Discovery

Exploring Mars: Chronicles from a Decade of Discovery


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The Red Planet has been a subject of fascination for humanity for thousands of years, becoming part of our folklore and popular culture. The most Earthlike of the planets in our solar system, Mars may have harbored some form of life in the past and may still possess an ecosystem in some underground refuge. The mysteries of this fourth planet from our Sun make it of central importance to NASA and its science goals for the twenty-first century.  

In the wake of the very public failures of the Mars Polar Lander and the Mars Climate Orbiter in 1999, NASA embarked on a complete reassessment of the Mars Program. Scott Hubbard was asked to lead this restructuring in 2000, becoming known as the "Mars Czar." His team's efforts resulted in a very successful decade-long series of missions--each building on the accomplishments of those before it--that adhered to the science adage "follow the water" when debating how to proceed. Hubbard's work created the Mars Odyssey mission, the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Phoenix mission, and most recently the planned launch of the Mars Science Laboratory

Now for the first time Scott Hubbard tells the complete story of how he fashioned this program, describing both the technical and political forces involved and bringing to life the national and international cast of characters engaged in this monumental endeavor.  Blending the exciting stories of the missions with the thrills of scientific discovery, Exploring Mars will intrigue anyone interested in the science, the engineering, or the policy of investigating other worlds.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780816528967
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
Publication date: 02/01/2012
Edition description: 1
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Scott Hubbard is a professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University. He has been engaged in space-related research as well as program, project, and executive management for more than 35 years. He spent 20 years at NASA, including serving as director of NASA’s Ames Research Center and received NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal.

Table of Contents

List of Figures ix

List of Plates xi

Foreword Bill Nye xiii

Abbreviations xvii

Acknowledgments xxi

1 Mars Is Hard 1

2 Getting Started 13

3 Inside the Beltway 39

4 Follow the Water 52

5 To Land or Not to Land? 68

6 The Rover Becomes Rovers 82

7 Hands across the Water 90

8 Getting the Word Out 98

9 All Things to All People 122

10 Return to Flight: A Mars Odyssey 147

11 The Queue 161

12 Zeroing In 180

Appendix: Timeline of the New Mars Program 187

Index 189

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