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Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity and the Exploration of the Red Planet Hardcover – 3 Feb 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1st Edition edition (3 Feb. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401301495
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401301491
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,146,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Stu on 6 Sept. 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you're one of the countless thousands of people who rush home from work each day and go online right away to check out the latest pictures beamed back by the twin Mars Exploration Rovers, "Spirit" and "Opportunity", then this book is a Must Buy. You'll already be pretty familiar with the public MER program - the happy, relaxed press conferences, the smiling NASA techs describing the latest stunning panorama, etc - but if you want to know what inspired the building of the rovers, how huge a struggle it was to get them built, and learn about the unbelievable political and scientific street-brawling that goes on in the dark, hallowed halls of JPL and other NASA facilities, well, this book will be perfect. Names you've seen countless times on websites and .pdf documents will be revealed as real people, with real attitudes and real characters; engineers and scientists you thought of as placid, clipboard-carrying geeks will be revealed as passionate space advocates who live, eat, and sleep Mars. This is the definitive account of the missions of Spirit and Opportuinity - so far.
The book isn't without its faults though: some sections are a little dry, and don't have as much emotional input by Steve Squyres as the others, but you can forgive him that - he was rather busy looking after an almost-a-billion-dollar project, after all. But the insights into the building, construction and testing of the rovers is every bit as emotional a rollercoaster as the sections describing the landings... ah, I remember those mornings... reading this book brought it all flooding back.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lord John on 19 Dec. 2006
Format: Paperback
I admit I am only halfway through the book, but I an enjoying greatly. The author makes all the work of actually getting the rovers to Mars come alive. We normally only see the end product, the pictures and results. Here we see the hard work, dedication, frustrations, setbacks and failures. The really great thing is that the success has been even greater than what the book covers. Seeing Steve Squyres in the press conference when the picture of Opportunity was shown by the edge of Victoria crater showed how he felt about his creation and the mission. This book tells that story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robin C. Wheeler on 13 May 2007
Format: Hardcover
Steve Squyres really gives you a feel of what it is like to put together plans for a mission to Mars and then through the highes & lows of actually

making those plans reality. He brings to life the indivuals involved, their

dreams and nightmares. This really teaches what it takes to live the dream

and fly a mission to Mars. They are the luckiest people on this planet, but

it's not easy.

I really don't want this book to end.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was the sort of thing I would have written about the Mars Exploration Rover Mission had I been involved in it - an extremely detailed account of everything that happened, including all the problems and how they were overcome.

The book is not just a series of facts, though. It captures the long waits involved and the numerous setbacks faced by the mission before, during and after launch. But the overall impression I got was of an idea on paper being slowly developed into a real rover that really landed on Mars. I also thought it portrayed the ingeniousness of a lot of people at NASA very well, especially when dealing with problems like fuses and the flash memory problem.

Like previous readers have said, I would definitely recommend buying this book if you are interested in space exploration. Bigger and better rovers will be launched, but only because Spirit and Opportunity proved their enormous usefulness on Mars (and that they could last longer than a few months, which would otherwise severely limit the launch times).

I would also recommend watching the animation of the rovers on NASA's website and the videos showing the challenges facing the mission as the book is not very visual (despite containing 16 full colour pages with lots of diagrams and photographs of the rovers and Mars).
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By Bex on 10 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Steve Squyres was the Principal Investigator (PI) on the Mars Exploration Rover mission which sent out Spirit and Opportunity. The rovers got to Mars in 2004 and not only hugely outlived their projected lifetimes, they provided ground truth evidence that there was once abundant water on the surface of Mars. This is the story of how he got NASA to fund the mission, how his team developed them and what happened during the initial part of the mission on the planet's surface.

Surprisingly considering how talented this guy is in his own field, he has a wonderful lightness of touch and this is an incredibly readable and enjoyable book. The obstacles in the way of the mission were enormous and you often find yourself in despair along with him despite the benefit of hindsight. Even when you're grinding your teeth with frustration to get those rovers to Mars, though, the twists and turns don't fail to be gripping and involving. As well as the practicalities, the character of everyone involved is very well drawn so you feel like you're in amongst them as part of the team.

Lovely stuff - I thoroughly recommend it.
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