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"Humans to Mars: Fifty Years of Mission Planning, 1950--2000"

David S. F. Portree, NASA History Division

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.. Actual size is 11 x 8.5-inches

Humans to Mars: Fifty Years of Mission Planning, 1950--2000

David S. F. Portree, NASA History Division
NASA Monographs in Aerospace History Series, Number 21, February 2001


It's not science fiction or a dream any more.  Today men and woman are laying the foundations for our first interplanetary voyages.  This is a comprehensive study of what the best minds of the last half-century have come up with.

A complete and detailed chronicle of space planning for a "Men to Mars" mission.  Covers the range of plans from those of Wernher von Braun in the 1950s to the Space Exploration Initiative of 1989, from ambitious flotilla-style expeditions to much leaner plans. Provides historians, space policy practitioners, and other readers with a very valuable overview of how much planning has already been done.  If humans do go to Mars any time in the near future, it is quite likely that their mission profile will resemble one of the plans described here.

People have dreamed of exploring the Red Planet since before the space age began.  The Apollo program, which put 12 Americans on the surface of the Moon, encouraged the dreamers and the planners who wanted to send astronauts to Mars.  Many people in and out of NASA have felt that human exploration of Mars is the next logical step in human space flight after the Moon.

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Human travel to and from Mars would take many months at best, and the biomedical and psychological implications of such long-duration missions are daunting.  The logistics of getting enough food, water, and other supplies to Mars are also challenging at best.  What would astronauts do once they got to Mars?  How long would they stay on the planet's surface and how would they survive there before returning to Earth? 

The financial cost of sending humans to Mars would almost surely be measured in billions of dollars.  Aside from technical and financial issues, there remains the political question of why we should send humans to Mars at all.

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This fine book takes on these questions, examining the evolution of 50 mission studies over the past 50 years, giving a sense of the many options that Mars human space flight planners in the United States have employed. More than 1,000 piloted Mars mission studies were conducted inside and outside NASA between 1950 and 2000.  Many were the product of NASA and industry study teams, while others were the work of committed individuals or private organizations. 

The studies examined here are representative of most of the technologies and techniques associated with piloted Mars exploration.

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Includes detailed descriptions of Mars voyage and exploration plans by:

  • Wernher von Braun
  • Collier's magazine
  • NASA's first Mars study
  • Twirling Ion Ships to Mars
  • EMPIRE Expeditions
  • UMPIRE 
  • Planetary JAG
  • NERVA, Kiwi, and other nuclear projects
  • Boeing Expedition
  • Space Task Group
  • Ride Report
  • And many, many other international studies
Also details:
  • Viking
  • Resources of Mars
  • The Planetary Society
  • Soviet Mars plans
  • Legrange points
  • National Commission on Space

Contents

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Typical illustrations from the book
(smaller than actual size;
thin paper makes scanning difficult, hence the gray background)

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Really a nice book that's full of creative and ingenious ways we might get to--and settle--the Red Planet.  Belongs on the shelf of every astronomer who's given thought to flying to this intriguing planet.  Makes a terrific gift for arm-chair rocketeers as well!

Thick and well-illustrated (more than 30 graphics), complete with tables of acronyms, end notes, bibliography, and detailed index.  Hard to find and now out-of-print, this new limited edition has been republished by the Rocket Science Institute.  It's printed with a high-resolution laser printer (not photocopied) directly from a NASA digital file, on high-quality, bright-white, acid-free paper for years of reference use.  157 pages, large and easy-to-read 11" x 8-1/2" size, nicely bound.  $24.95

 
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