Format Hardcover
Publication Date 04/15/11
ISBN 9781605981765
Trim Size / Pages 9.3 x 6.4 in / 352

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Martian Summer

Robot Arms, Cowboy Spacemen, and My 90 Days with the Phoenix Mars Mission

Andrew Kessler

Spend a summer exploring the Martian Arctic—something that has taken nearly the entirety of human knowledge to achieve.

There's never been a better time to be an armchair astronaut. Forget this planet. The economy is terrible, global warming is inevitable, and there are at least eight major wars happening right now. That's why Kessler left home and moved to Mars. Well, not all the way to Mars. The closest spot on Earth you can get without a rocket. In the summer of 2008, he lived his space dream, s[ending the months in mission control of The Phoenix expedition with 130 top scientists and engineers as they explored Mars. This story is a human drama about modern-day Magellans battling NASA politics, temperamental robots, and the bizarre world of daily life in mission control. Kessler was the first outsider ever granted unfettered access to such an event, giving us a true Mission-to-Mars exclusive.

The Phoenix Mars mission was the first man-made probe ever sent to the Martian arctic. They wanted to find out how climate change can turn a warm, wet planet (read: Earth) into a cold, barren desert (read: Mars). That might seem like a trivial pursuit, but it's probably the most impressive feat we humans can achiee, and it took the culmination of nearly the entirety of human knowledge to do it.

Along the way, Phoenix discovered a giant frozen ocean trapped beneath the north pole of Mars, exotic food for aliens and liquid water. This is not science fiction. It's fact. Not bad for a summer holiday.

Andrew Kessler is a writer living in Brooklyn. His work has appeared in The New York Times and on The Discovery Channel. He holds a degree in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley and works as a creative director at HUGE. Martian Summer is his first book about Mars—or any planet for that matter.

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Endorsements & Reviews

“Readers will thrill to this slightly offbeat firsthand account of scientific determination and stubborn intellect...This behind-the-scenes look delivers a fascinating journey of discovery peppered with humor.” Publishers Weekly
“A candid and precise account of the ups and downs of a space mission.  This book shows what it is to participate in a short and intense landed Mars expedition.  It gives the feel of the pressure and excitement at mission control, where engineers, managers and scientists work together while trying to satisfy contradictory requirements, showing the human side of science with refreshing honesty.” Nilton Renno, Professor of Atmospheric and Space sciences, University of Michigan
“It is as if I imagined Holden Caulfield writing about the mission. Martian Summer is a riot.” Peter Smith, Professor, Lunar and Planetory Laboratory, University of Arizona, and Principal Investigator of the Phoenix Project