Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013
By Kadri

Martian Outpost by Erik Seedhouse

Rating: 10/10

Martian Outpost is THE book to read if you're interested in the future of manned space exploration. It is certainly in my top three best books about Mars missions. And I've been reading quite a few of those recently.

Martian Outpost is a little bit different though. It presents different mission architectures (which includes the size of the crew, the duration of the stay, scientific research on Mars, and all the rest)  starting from the very first - Wernher von Braun's Marsprojekt, which, if you're familiar with any other series of manned missions might not sound too surprising as the project would have required 46 space shuttles to transport the parts of Martian spacecrafts into orbit and there seven passenger vehicles and 3 cargo crafts would be assembled. The need for assembly in orbit is because of the large size of the spacecrafts, as they would house a crew of ten astronauts for 260 days on the journey to Mars, for the time while they're on Mars for about 440 days and then 260 days back to Earth.

Just picture the expense!

Naturally there are others, less utopic ones, like Zubrin's Mars Direct, which would be the minimum
mission. Also Mars for Less and Project Troy or ESA-s Aurora program. But more of that in the book.

If you're maybe not that interested in the different mission architectures, then for anyone who has though of what could possibly go wrong on an airplane flight, would be glad to read the chapter about abort options on the mission (when is it too late to yell "I don't want to go!" ?) and about some of the failures and problems that might occur during launch or on the flight to Mars, while landing on Mars or when staying there. That would make good reading for all of those people who applied for Mars One program, as that one wouldn't bring the Martian colonizers back anyway.

Then for those who are not too frightened to continue, you can find out about some of the propulsion systems and hardware necessary for the mission and then it's time for choosing the crew.

You can then easily check whether you would be fine on such a long space mission. For example some of the requirements after all the really essential ones (age, physical abilities, education etc.) there's a need for "high tolerance for lack of achievement" and also "high tolerance for little mental stimulation" and on top of that you should have a sense of humor and an ability to be easily entertained. Would you go on a possibly three year mission?

There's a lot of discovering to do in "Martian Outpost" and if you plan to read only one book about Mars missions in your life, then I'd recommend this one.

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