Book Review: Destination Mars – New Explorations of the Red Planet
Destination Mars – New Explorations of the Red Planet by Rod Pyle; Prometheus Books; Amherst, New York; $19.00; 2012
As you read this, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is bearing down on the red planet – headed for an early August entry, descent and landing.
Once again, scientists and engineers will have fingers-crossed as this powerful machine dives into the thin Martian atmosphere, headed toward Gale crater.
Rod Pyle’s latest work is a first-rate primer to get ready for MSL – and a special tip of the space helmet visor for writing such a unique volume, one that offers behind-the-scenes portraits of our favorite Martians, past, present and new.
Let’s face it. The Red Planet does not easily shed its secrets.
Destination Mars takes the reader on a voyage to this eon-aged world, one that continues to lure inquisitive scientists and space engineers.
From the pretentious Viking landers that dared to ask the “L” question – is there life here? – to the bouncing ball-delivery of Spirit and Opportunity rovers and the soft touchdown of the Phoenix lander – Pyle has scripted a fact-filled, up-to-date book.
Beyond the science and technology of Mars exploration, the author provides insights into the personalities — from cheerleaders to unsung heroes — that have transformed our understanding of the red planet.
As Pyle explains, “exploring Mars is a bit like doing brain surgery through a mile-long soda straw” with humans striving “to discover what makes Mars tick.”
If successful, the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory mega-rover is sure to open a new chapter in red planet probing.
Destination Mars provides the early chapters to the on-going chronicle of opening up this terra incognito to extraordinary exploration.
For more information on this book, go to: