Chronicles from a
Decade of Discovery
By Scott Hubbard
with a foreword by
Bill Nye The Science Guy™
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It's time to go back to Mars. Once every two years, the orbits of Earth and Mars are aligned just right, so it's possible to send a spacecraft from here to there. That special time is now.
NASA's latest mission, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), launched in late November. It's another six-wheeled rover, but much larger than the rovers Spirit and Opportunity that landed on Mars in 2004. They weighed under 400 pounds. MSL weighs nearly a ton and is about the size of a small compact car.
Read the full story here,
Want to know more about a decade of successful Mars missions?
In the wake of the very public failures of the Mars Polar Lander and the Mars Climate Orbiter in 1999, NASA embarked on a complete reassessment of the Mars Program. Scott Hubbard was asked to lead this restructuring in 2000, becoming known as the "Mars Czar." His team's efforts resulted in a very successful decade-long series of missions—each building on the accomplishments of those before it—that adhered to the science adage "follow the water" when debating how to proceed. Hubbard's work created the Mars Odyssey mission, the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Phoenix mission, and most recently the sucessful launch of the Mars Science Laboratory.
Now for the first time Scott Hubbard tells the complete story of how he fashioned this program, describing both the technical and political forces involved and bringing to life the national and international cast of characters engaged in this monumental endeavor. Blending the exciting stories of the missions with the thrills of scientific discovery, Exploring Mars will intrigue anyone interested in the science, the engineering, or the policy of investigating other worlds.
“It’s high time somebody revealed the underbelly of why and how we travel to the Red Planet. Leave it to NASA’s ‘Mars Czar’ Scott Hubbard to tell this story. Yes, we’re all explorers, but every mission to space is enabled by financial, political, and cultural forces that you never hear about—without which there’d be no enterprise of discovery at all.” —Neil deGrasse Tyson