Mars: Making Contact
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The Red Planet holds an enduring fascination. Filled with extraordinary detail and documents, this book offers a visually stunning insider's look at how Mars has been explored and the challenges facing future missions. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been the principal explorer, launching the Mariner spacecraft that sped past Mars and snapped 22 grainy photographs in 1965. After many flybys and an orbital mission, NASA landed the twin Viking probes on Mars in 1976.
From 1997 through to the present day, a series of rovers have been sent to Mars, each more sophisticated. Today two rovers, Curiosity and Opportunity, continue to operate on the planet. Along with five orbiters representing three nations, these machines have enabled us to make incredible discoveries, each more compelling than the last. Ancient rivers, lakes, ocean beds, and valleys have been charted, suggesting a landscape that could once have supported life.
Preparations are underway for a crewed mission to Mars, and the book discusses the many challenges that we will face, from the design of the spacecraft to the impact on the human body, both physically and psychologically, of such a journey, as well as surviving on the planet's inhospitable surface.