Curiosity: An Inside Look at the Mars Rover Mission and the People Who Made It Happen

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Curiosity, by Rod Pyle, is a step in the right direction. He gives an inside look at the Mars Rover Mission and the people who made it happen. He talks about Curiosity’s cousins, Spirit and Opportunity, the two rovers roaming the surface of Mars. He also gives us his inside glimpse of the mission by telling of some fascinating interactions with his colleagues. He even describes in considerable detail each of the Mars Missions, whetting the readers’ appetite for a real manned Mars mission.

Utilizing 12 pages of color photographs and other, black and white illustrations through the book, the author catalogues every aspect of a Mars mission. Pyle takes the reader on a sight-seeing tour of all the NASA players so that we see the whole background and support aspects of Curiosity. We also get to see the history of the Mars Missions, starting with the first fly-bys. The progress, Pyle reports, is unmistakable and inches us ever closer to the day when we might see a real manned Mars Mission.

Pyle also observed the colossal wastage in the NASA facility. He indicates that the bureaucracy is set up in such a way so that redundant systems that are really unnecessary begin to bog down progress in the agency, costing the taxpayers millions in wasted dollars. One of the more dramatic wastes was Planetary Quarantine program, in which they had to make sure that every operation and every piece of equipment was sanitized and exposed only in clean rooms where workers wore “bunny suits,” white gloves, hats and booties. This is like a bad 1950’s science fiction movie. But through it all, Rod Pyle came out as a clean and super reporter.

While NASA tightens its belt ever more under the Obama Administration, our hope for a real manned Mars Mission slips away amongst the bureaucrats and politicians who lumber around in Washington, without regard to our vision of exploration. But I solute those who bear the strength to stand their ground and plead with Congress to see the light, see the importance of exploring space, discovering new worlds and colonizing the Solar System, maybe.

Rod Pyle is assistant professor at the University of La Verne and lectures with NASA’s Johnson Space Center. He has authored a number of books and articles. In addition, he produced many documentaries for the History Channel and Discovery Communications, including a Modern Marvels episode, Apollo 11. Curiosity provides a visual point of view for Pyle’s writing. In addition to the revealing accounts of staff dynamics, Pyle takes Curiosity’s point of view to tell its own story, in Pyle’s words, of course!

Curiosity is an enriching experience—one to endure in the minds of science buff readers. This gives them the ammunition to discuss, reflect and argue points in the whole Mars discussion in any human setting. What Pyle put together is nothing short of a “Gone With the Wind” production of Curiosity and the entire Mars undertaking. I simply can’t give Pyle enough praise for a job well done. His is a major contribution to the science readers’ community and the Alpha Centauri & Beyond science community as well.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 290 pages
Publisher Prometheus Books
Publish Date 2014-Jul-15
ISBN 9781616149338 Buy this Book
Issue July 2014
Category Science & Nature


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