Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity

Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity

by Roger Wiens


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465055982
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 03/12/2013
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Roger Wiens (pronounced "Weens") is the principal investigator for the ChemCam instrument on the Curiosity rover and a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Wiens has worked at Caltech and the University of California and was in charge of building three instruments for NASA's Genesis mission. He lives in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Table of Contents

Prologue ix

Part I Genesis 1

Chapter 1 From Minnesota to the Moon 3

Chapter 2 The Dawn of an Era 13

Chapter 3 Mission Selection 23

Chapter 4 Making Genesis 33

Chapter 5 Beyond the Moon and Back 41

Chapter 6 Impact 51

Chapter 7 Vindication 61

Part II Path to Mars 67

Chapter 8 Lasers and Rovers 69

Chapter 9 Fire! 77

Chapter 10 To Mars and Back … Almost 85

Chapter 11 The French Connection 95

Chapter 12 Ticket to Mars 105

Chapter 13 New-Instrument Struggles 111

Chapter 14 Canceled 125

Chapter 15 Soldiering On 137

Chapter 16 Rover Motors 143

Chapter 17 Finishing ChemCam 151

Chapter 18 On the Rover 159

Part III Curiosity 165

Chapter 19 Coming Together 167

Chapter 20 Where on Mars? 177

Chapter 21 Back to the Cape 185

Chapter 22 Seven Minutes of Terror 191

Chapter 23 Landing on Mars 201

Epilogue 211

Acknowledgments 215

Further Reading 217

Index 219

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Publishers Weekly
“This entertaining insider account of Wiens’s work on two groundbreaking robotic space explorers—the Genesis and Curiosity Rover—captures all the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of modern space science . . . Wiens brings his work to life, candidly addressing the inevitable technological and bureaucratic obstacles and failures that compose the frustrating prelude to scientific victory.”

Kirkus Reviews
“The author provides fascinating insight into the struggle to solve scientific problems despite technical constraints and equipment failures….A winning memoir of great achievement.”

Steve Squyres, Professor of Astronomy, Cornell University, and author of Roving Mars
“We live in a new golden age of exploration, as robotic spacecraft fan out across the solar system, extending the human experience to other planets. With Red Rover, Roger Wiens provides a delightful, candid, and highly personal insider’s view of this great endeavor.”

Jim Bell, Professor of Planetary Science, Arizona State University, President of the Planetary Society, and author of Postcards from Mars
“Roger Wiens has crafted a delightful and very personal history of planetary exploration that takes us from his boyhood fascination with the Apollo Moon missions to his leading role as a key scientist on the latest Mars rover. His journey from a small prairie town to the laser labs of Los Alamos reminds us that passion, imagination, and perseverance are what propel us to explore the frontiers of space.”

John L. Phillips, retired NASA astronaut, and former NASA Chair Professor, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School
Red Rover offers an enticing personal look at the exaltations and disappointments of unmanned space exploration. Roger Wiens vividly portrays the genius and perseverance of the dedicated scientists and engineers who have made robotic exploration of the solar system a reality.”

Laurie Leshin, Dean, School of Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
“In Red Rover, Roger Wiens gets you up close and personal with the highs and lows, the triumphs and disappointments that come with pushing the scientific envelope, and the great persistence required to succeed. A great read for anyone interested in exploring the frontiers of space.”

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Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Jane_AustenAP More than 1 year ago
I enjoy learning and reading about space, but reading this book has me actively seeking out more books on space exploration. I thought I kind of understood what it takes to get equipment to space, but this book gave me helped me understand just how much harder it is than I ever imagined. Roger Wiens takes the reader through his experiences trying to explore space. Ultimately you get to follow his experiences as he explores Mars through an instrument he helped design. It took decades from concept to functioning on another planet. Wiens makes space exploration interesting. Not knowing a lot about the topic I was still fascinated. He breaks down concepts and jargon in a way that is easy to understand with out patronizing. At the end he recommends other books on the topic. I am on my second book on that list now. They too have been great reads. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago