Friday, February 19, 2016

Mars One, ed. Norbert Kraft

Think about this: in our lifetimes, a human settlerment will be established on Mars.  Science fiction is becoming science fact!  My parents and grandparents, when they were children, probably couldn't have imagined men walking on the surface of the moon, much less Mars.  The team at Mars One is in full preparation mode to send the first group of settlers to Mars in ten short years!

To give some background, and to look forward to the task at hand, Norbert Kraft, Mars One Chief Medical Officer, has edited Mars One: Humanity's Next Great Adventure.  Space travel insiders, including some involved in Mars One, have written a collection of essays about the realities of a one-way mission to Mars.

Here's what impressed me about Mars One.  This isn't a speculative book.  It's real.  The selections are written by people who have worked in space exploration and development, who have trained astronauts, who have led missions, and who have technical, scientific, and personal experience with space exploration.  This is not sci-fi.

Interspersed among the essays are short selections quoting Mars One applicants.  The astronauts selected for a one-way trip to establish a human presence on Mars will be heroes.  I appreciated hearing their thoughts about leaving Earth behind and establishing a human legacy on a new world.

One interesting part of Mars One's plan is taping a reality show of the selection and training of the astronauts, as well as of the mission itself.  I was reminded of John Olson and Randy Ingermanson's novel Oxygen, which is the closest portrayal I have read to the mission Mars One envisions.  Their mission was broadcast for general consumption, and partially funded by network ad revenue.  Oxygen was first published in 2001, but anticipates many elements of Mars One's plan.

Mars One will make a believer out of you.  It's not the most gripping reading (the essays are largely written by science Ph.D.s, after all), but reading about Mars One with the knowledge that these are real people making real plans to send a group of astronauts to Mars is beyond cool.  I can hardly wait to see Mars One succeed in their mission.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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