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The case for Mars by Robert Zubrin with Richard Wagner

This book deals with every aspect of manned mars exploration, from why we should do it, and why now, to how we should do it with commodity off-the-shelf components that already exist, or could with minimal work. It is the condensation, in layman's terms, of many years of technical work devoted to the development of practical plans for the human exploration and colonisation of mars.

Covering these plans (called mars direct) in detail, it starts of by demonstrating how the faulty reasoning behind the battlestar galactica style missions results in the previous plans being unworkable for generations.

Having demolished the assumptions behind the older and thoroughly impractical plans, they then go on to describe, from scratch and in detail, which orbits and technology to use to produce a workable manned exploration program using the cheapest methods, with the most redundant backups in order to give the program the greatest chance of success.

Having shown how within a generation we could have a practical program of manned exploration of mars, they then go on to show technological advances would allow for the program to become more adventurous, or how higher levels of redundancy and thus safety could be introduced into the plan.

Then they extend the plan, still using no new technology, to show how it could be expanded to produce a sustainable mars colony, and how it would in turn feed back into improvements in the economy of earth.

The final section deals with the three main methods of funding such a program of exploration, from the JFK model demonstrated so well in the moon landings, via Sagan's international cooperation model, to the prize based model used so well to produce the aircraft industries.

On the whole it is well worth reading, both for the clarity of thought in the writing and the glimpse into the mind of a true visionary with a determination to turn his dreams into reality.

A few people have said that they find that this books reads more like science fiction that science fact, but there is absolutely nothing that I could detect in the plan that was not completely achievable if only we have the will to do it.

buy it in america or buy it in the UK or buy it in Canada

This book is copyright 1996.