304 pages, 100 colour & b/w photos, 25 colour illustrations, 12 colour maps
Following up on Hubble, National Geographic Space Atlas, and Buzz Aldrin's Mission to Mars, National Geographic presents the only book that reveals all the behind-the-scenes stories of the famous Curiosity project. Renowned science journalist Marc Kaufman has spent two years embedded with the engineers and scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, cheering on the rover's spine-tingling landing, learning the back-story of anticipated findings, and witnessing the inescapable frustrations that come from operating a $2.5-billion multi-tasking robot on a planet 35 million miles from Earth.
Chapter by chapter, Kaufman explores the science and technology at the heart of our mission to Mars. Why do dry creek beds suggest life may have existed here? How does Curiosity test Mars's soil? When will humans step onto this planet, and what will it be like to live on Mars? To answer these questions, Kaufman introduces one colourful character after another, each a key player in the history-making drama unfolding on the next planet out from the sun. The enthusiasm of these scientists and inventors, not to mention the fascinating knowledge they share, bursts through on every page, confirming foreword writer Elon Musk's declaration that We will be stepping out onto Mars by the 2030s.
With images never published before, computer-enhanced with colours that make you want to spend your next vacation on Mars, this is the one and only book that explains everything behind the most ambitious space expedition ever.
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Marc Kaufman writes about NASA and space science for NationalGeographic.com/NewsWatch and The Washington Post, where he was a reporter on the national staff for 10 years.