on 5 April 2013
This book is more of an autobiography than a technical book although it also contains a fair amount of technical details on the instruments and missions for Genesis and Curiosity. Unusually for a technical book this one also has a really compelling story line and once you start reading it you may find it hard to put down.
You might think that the life of a space scientist is one of unsurpassed geekiness. Not so! Follow the author as he battles against competition with the brightest minds in science, NASA bureaucracy, almost insuperable technical challenges, crushing time and budget constraints, forest fires, family problems and, if all this was not enough, living with the constant uncertainty of whether his instruments will be chosen, if the mission will ever fly and, even if it does, will the spacecraft survive launch, flight and landing.
on 11 January 2014
I have a huge fascination for Mars... So much so that from reading the actual Rover Manual to studying the software code I have spent tons of hours --perhaps too many hours..
Even with my love of mars and anything that has anything to do with Mars, I was rather disappointed with this book. Dr Weins, certainly a great scientist isn't much of a story teller. If you have read "Roving Mars", the story of the Opportunity and Spirit rovers by Dr Steve Squyers - the Principal Investigator for those missions - you will appreciate the difference.
The book first tells the story of Genesis mission- collection of Solar particles and return to earth- where Dr Weins was one of the key team members...and then moves on to tell the story of the martian rover. The book can get technical at times - for instance a whole page on what a spectrometer is , what are isotopes and other things like that. But it failed to capture my imagination in the first part ( about Genesis mission). It just wasnt'...i feel ashamed to say this being a scientis myself...sexy enough for the story.
The story of the rover follows, and that is better than the first part. the book however just seems to lack a flow. The characters in the book aren't described in enough detail that you can picture them, which does not help. The writing style is a bit dull.
Yes it is unfair to compare 'Red Rover' with 'Roving Mars', but it is just something I couldn't help - like the movie A Bug's life vs Antz. Steve Squyers in his book Roving Mars told this story in a fascinating way ( he is a fantastic speaker too, if you check him on youtube), and this book while it tells a similar tale of toil, disappointment and then the ultimate victory , it just has some element 'missing'.
Still A decent read. If you haven't read Steve Squyers book then don't buy that yet,read this first and then buy that. Y