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The Case for Mars Paperback – 6 Apr 1998

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Paperback, 6 Apr 1998
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (6 April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684835509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684835501
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 696,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Michael D. Lemonick"Newsday"In this thoughtful, thorough and inspiring book...[Zubrin] systematically and convincingly destroys the conventional wisdom about Mars travel.


Inside This Book

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First Sentence
The planet Mars is a world of breathtaking scenery, with spectacular mountains three times as tall as Mount Everest, canyons three times as deep and five times as long as the Grand canyon, vast ice fields, and thousands of kilometers of mysterious dry riverbeds. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. E. Mccallum on 12 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The review guide states that the review is to be relevant to the content and/or context. In this case, they're two rather different reviews. Personally, I find Zubrin's Mars Direct/Mars Colony plan (the content part) flawed in quite a few ways, here are a couple: 1) the "frontier spirit" arguement is used often, and I agree that humanity is at its best when challenged and exploration and colonisation certainly serves this goal. But the specific case for Mars, as opposed to the moons of Saturn/Jupiter, asteroid belts etc are not made. 2) Assumptions about the industry of a Mars colony, deuterium mining for use in fusion for example, are founded on an unproven theoretical industry and also, due to the prevelance of Helium 3, encourage a settlement on the moon instead. Asteroid mining is posited but this is an arguement for mining asteroids, Mars is superfluous to this. 3) The Mars Direct mission itself is a tight rope and although Zubrin convincingly deals with many of the dangers the book is, perhaps necessarily lean on specifics regards crew details (men? women? age?) and logistic details, I personally doubt the craft has enough space for food, water, spare parts etc although I happen to know many of these details have been worked out at later dates, the crewing level has now been raised to 6, those ammendments are not present here. And on and on. However, Zubrin is making a case, not a watertight arguement and would doubtless concede that the debate is far from over so, in the spirit of the context side of the review I would say buy this book, absolutely, the Mars Direct plan is an excellent, ingenious basic idea that deserves publicity and this book should be bought and debated by scientists, students, policymakers and the general public alike.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
Robert Zubrin combines genuine enthusiasm for space exploration with the levelheaded pragmatism you want in an engineer (which he is). That second quality is essential, as skeptical readers may find themselves shaking their heads at the matter-of-fact way in which Zubrin dispels objections to going to Mars. He makes the journey sound not only easy but logical and inspiring. The book has just two minor weaknesses: First, Zubrin can seem partisan - arguing not just for Mars but against alternative projects, like lunar exploration. Second, occasionally he goes into more detail than really necessary. For instance, plans to name Martian months seem premature, albeit interesting. getAbstract recommends his fascinating book to skeptics who don't see why society should bother with space, to those old enough to remember the glory days of the "Apollo" missions, and to anyone interested in bold scientific exploration. This is a trip you can take.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. D. Tomkinson on 10 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent introduction - if a little optimistic given the current state of technology. I like the view that we can get there for $50 billion.

However, he makes a good case for why we need to get to Mars. It is written very much from the perpective of why America needs this and is currently the only country which can get there. But even the updated version does not take account of the fact that the USA could probably not make the attempt given the financial state of that country.

The only way it will happen though is via another space race - as in the race to the Moon where money was no object. The only way that will happen is after the Chinese annex the Moon in the late 2020s.

That may wake up America but I somewhat doubt it. The Red Planet will eventually be the Yellow one.

The book is a little technical in parts but not to a degree where the average person could not follow the reasoning or understand what is being said. The tone can be somewhat 'evangelical' but he believes what he is saying so can be forgiven.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By simonjgarrett@hotmail.com on 30 Oct. 2000
Format: Paperback
Zubrin clearly outlines how a martian exploration may be possible using existing technology. He wigs out a bit when he tries to carry this thesis forward to a discussion of terraforming but if you have any interest in space exploration this is a must read, with some penetrating insight in to why NASA is probably not going to fulfill our aspirations in this direction anytime soon. So, if you can find anybody nuts enough to actually fly the thing . . . .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
THE CASE FOR MARS is one of the best books I have read this year. When Apollo 11 landed on the Moon in 1969, I remember sitting glued to our TV. It was one of the most memorable moments in my life. I had been fascinated with space and the possibility that any of us might soon be able to go there since I was 9 or 10.
I was convinced that, by the time I was 25 or 30, I personally would have that chance. I'm now 48 and I've given up any hope that John Q. Citizen will make regular trips into space in my lifetime.
Once we, as a nation, had "won" the space race, our government felt we could better spend our money on "important" things like the arms race.
Our citizens, too, seemed to have lost the vision of new worlds to explore and, yes, new worlds to settle. Some even seemed to believe that it was somehow immoral to consider settling new worlds when we'd made such a mess of our own.
For my part, I always believed that space exploration was one of the best purposes to which we could devote our collective efforts. Time and again, the space race had demonstrated that stretching into new frontiers requires new technologies, which in turn benefit everyday life. Furthermore, cooperative efforts between nations on so grand a scale could help to break down those barriers of distrust and prejudice which have plagued mankind since the beginning of time.
By the 1980s and 90s, what was being done in the way of space exploration had turned into very large, very expensive projects and all too often, very expensive failures. The idea of going to and settling someplace like Mars, with this mindset, seemed prohibitively expensive.
To my thinking, the International Space Station is typical of that type of shortsighted planning.
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