Today in 1971 the Mariner 9 became the first space vehicle to orbit another planet–Mars. With India’s recent pursuit of its own mission to the red planet, the allure of Mars remains a fixed point on humanity’s collective horizon. As you might imagine, plenty of ink has been spilled over Mars exploration. We’ll take a moment on this auspicious day in the history of space exploration to highlight a few items from our own collection.
Red Rover : Inside The Story Of Robotic Space Exploration, From Genesis To The Mars Rover Curiosity by Roger Wiens. As the chance for a manned mission to Mars within the next decade or more grows less and less likely, this book focuses on the history and future of the next best option, robotic proxies. Equipped with state of the art tech that delivers the next best thing to actually being there, robotic astronauts look to be the future of space exploration.
Mission to Mars : My Vision For Space Exploration by Buzz Aldrin. When he’s not punching out dweebs who question whether he actually walked on the moon, Buzz Aldrin still thinks about space and planetary exploration. Aldrin’s bold vision sees humans on Mars by 2035, and if the political will existed to enact his ideas, it just might happen.
Destination Mars : New Explorations Of The Red Planet by Rod Pyle. This amazing collection of Mars exploration history, interviews, and facts also features a survey of current projects from NASA, the European Space Agency, and private industry. This insider account of space exploration to Mars will provide excellent and accessible background for folks interested in Mars exploration.
The Case For Mars : The Plan To Settle The Red Planet And Why We Must by Robert Zubrin. Aerospace engineer Zubrin makes a strong case for the colonization of Mars, and challenges NASA’s assertion of such a mission’s crippling costs. Mr. Zubrin’s argument relies heavily on the use of the red planet’s existing resources to provide the vital elements for support of any settlement on Mars.
And how about a DVD to round things off?
Five Years On Mars from National Geographic. This DVD comes from the Naked Science television program and the team from National Geographic, and includes images and video from Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
Finally, a bit of music to listen to while reading and thinking about Mars:
The Orbserver In The Star House by the Orb. Nobody does spaced-out ambient quite like the Orb, and the music from this 2012 release will provide a spacey backdrop to any activity.
On anniversaries like this one, the Red Planet beckons. Will we heed its call?