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My Life on Mars: (The Beagle 2 Diaries) Hardcover – 5 Oct 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: British Interplanetary Society (5 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0950659738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0950659732
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 650,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

This autobiographical book by the leader of the Beagle 2 project tells the complete story about the British space which was sent to Mars in 2003 to search for evidence of life on the Red Planet. Beagle 2 captivated the public and stories about it appeared in the media all over the World particularly in the United States.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By nic77 on 17 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book offers a fascinating account from behind the scenes of the Beagle 2 Mars lander mission, backed up with Pillinger's own life story and details of his previous work on lunar and Martian meteorite samples.

The Beagle 2 mission, although ultimately unsuccessful, captured the hearts of the British people in 2003 and certainly succeeded in inspiring many ordinary folk to take an interest in space exploration and science. Rarely has science been made so accessible to the general public, and Pillinger's approach of attempting to share every step of the process (warts and all) with the non-scientific community should be praised.

Professor Pillinger was personally criticised for his management style in a post mission report, but in this passionate account he explains how the mission suffered from funding constraints and a lack of co-operation from various quarters, at times bordering on malicious obstruction. The book is as much a dramatic thriller as it is an enthralling narrative of Pillinger's career.

My Life on Mars provides a gripping insight to the intense political wrangling which took place in the shadows of a groundbreaking scientific and engineering endeavour. It certainly leaves you with an enormous sense of disappointment that such an audacious project could be hamstrung by the interference of the bureaucrats and nay-sayers.

Highly recommended for all those with a sense of adventure, and out of this world ambition!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anne Stewart on 19 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Many people will remember the drama that unfolded during Christmas 2003 when it seemed as if the whole country had its eyes fixed on the planet Mars and the fate of a small space probe designed by Professor Colin Pillinger and his talented team. The history of Beagle 2 is well known but not perhaps the inside story as relayed here for the first time by the architect of the British led effort. As the Professor himself rightly says in his book: "If you tried to publish this story as science fiction you would probably be laughed at and told "it's too far-fetched." And in many ways the book reads almost like a novel and a very gripping one at that, complete with an array of heroes and some perhaps not so chivalrous characters. The book places the Beagle mission in the context of Pillinger's life as a whole, for this is very much an autobiography.

No matter the ultimate fate of the tiny lander, Beagle 2 is clearly a success story, if only for the way it inspired a nation to think again of spaceflight in a way it hadn't since the heady days of the Apollo missions. Even in an age when space is now "Big Business" controlled almost entirely by large corporations and national interests, Beagle 2 - famously designed on the back of a beer mat and built in a garage - showed there is still room for a smaller more idealistic endeavour.

There is something wonderfully "Wellsian" about the little lander that took on the might of NASA and which generated a story that might well have come from the pen of H.G. himself: the long journey across the "gulf of space" attached to the Mars Express mother-ship, followed by an unknown fate after the craft deployed in Mars orbit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Bond VINE VOICE on 9 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Professor Pillinger takes us into his arms as he cradles us through the murky back stabbing ball breaking process of putting a space probe together without any proper funding, without any proper support (from the people who should have been giving it) and with a continual stream of office politics which he, and his team, could sorely do without. But with a style unique to himself he loads the shotgun with a cast of unlikely characters and blasts them onto the canvas that is the history of the Beagle2 mission to Mars.

The book starts slow, I have to say that, some readers will be unhappy with an entire entry chapter being all about Colins deep dark ancestral roots, however, the book soon settles into its stride and delivers one of the best reads on the topic of British Industry and the Space age combined.

And anyone who is about to take on a task, or role, with ESA should really read this book before hand, it starkly points out how "the other side" (who happen to be on "our" side) keep trying to knock the whole mission for six.

I also take note that despite damning (and I believe accurate) appraisals of many characters in the ESA Mars Mission role at the time of Beagle2 some of those same characters, those same s**t stirrers, those same back stabbers and nay sayers are still working for ESA... It's good to see the UK's 235 million quid 2011 contribution is being used to pay for such high *cough* quality staff.
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