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Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosityby Roger Wiens
Synopses & Reviews
In its eerie likeness to Earth, Mars has long captured our imaginations — both as a destination for humankind and a possible home to extraterrestrial life. This fall, the Curiosity rover will land on Mars with the mission to determine whether the Red Planet has ever been capable of supporting living beings. In Red Rover, geochemist and planetary scientist Roger Wiens, who built the ChemCam instrument on the rover — the main tool for measuring Mars's past habitability — will tell the unlikely story of how this sophisticated robotic rover came to be. Facing tight deadlines, slim budgets, and the ever-present threat of shutdown, Wiens's team managed overcome seemingly intractable engineering and political problems to get their robot successfully off the ground.
An inspiring account of the real-life challenges of space exploration, Red Rover vividly narrates the race to answer the enduring question: could there be life on Mars?
An engaging history of robotic space exploration....A remarkable memoir and testament to the ingenuity of the space programs many scientists who build the tools needed to explore our solar system.” Booklist
Wiens offers a backstage tour of the delights and disappointments of working on missions." Scientific American
Wiens's writing is clear and engaging....A unique contribution...this book reinforces a vision of outer space as emblematic of technological progress, but also nicely encapsulates the external, messy factors that influence, hinder, and help the development of a robotic explorer.” Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly
This entertaining insider account of Wiens's work on two groundbreaking robotic space explorers — the Genesis and Curiosity Rover — captures all the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of modern space science....Wiens brings his work to life, candidly addressing the inevitable technological and bureaucratic obstacles and failures that compose the frustrating prelude to scientific victory.” Publishers Weekly
The author provides fascinating insight into the struggle to solve scientific problems despite technical constraints and equipment failures....A winning memoir of great achievement.” Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Roger Wiens is the principal investigator for the ChemCam instrument on the Curiosity Rover, and is based at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. He is also an adjunct research faculty in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Wiens has worked as a scientist at CalTech, the University of California, and was in charge of building three instruments for NASA's Genesis mission. He has also been involved in other NASA robotic missions, including Stardust, Mars Odyssey, Lunar Prospector, and Deep Space-One.
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