Red rover : inside the story of robotic space exploration, from Genesis to the Mars rover Curiosity

by Wiens, Roger.

Format: Print Book 2013
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 3 copies
Available (3)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction TL1097.W54 2013
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  TL1097.W54 2013
Northland Public Library Nonfiction 629.46 W63
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  629.46 W63
Plum Community Library STEM 629.8 WIE
Location  Plum Community Library
Collection  STEM
Call Number  629.8 WIE
In its eerie likeness to Earth, Mars has long captured our imaginations,both as a destination for humankind and as a possible home to extraterrestrial life. It is our twenty-first century New World its explorers robots, shipped 350 million miles from Earth to uncover the distant planet's secrets.Its most recent scout is Curiosity,a one-ton, Jeep-sized nuclear-powered space labouratory,which is now roving the Martian surface to determine whether the red planet has ever been physically capable of supporting life. In Red Rover , geochemist Roger Wiens, the principal investigator for the ChemCam laser instrument on the rover and veteran of numerous robotic NASA missions, tells the unlikely story of his involvement in sending sophisticated hardware into space, culminating in the Curiosity rover's amazing journey to Mars.In so doing, Wiens paints the portrait of one of the most exciting scientific stories of our time: the new era of robotic space exploration. Starting with NASA's introduction of the Discovery Program in 1992, scrappier, more nimble missions became the order of the day, as manned missions were confined to Earth orbit, and behemoth projects went extinct. This strategic shift presented huge scientific opportunities, but tight budgets meant that success depended more than ever on creative engineering and human ingenuity. Beginning with the Genesis mission that launched his career, Wiens describes the competitive, DIY spirit of these robotic enterprises, from conception to construction, from launch to heart-stopping crashes and smooth landings.An inspiring account of the real-life challenges of space exploration, Red Rover vividly narrates what goes into answering the question: is there life elsewhere in the universe?
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Launched in late November 2011, the Curiosity rover was the most expensive, elaborate robotic device to touch the Martian surface since NASA began sending landers to the Red Planet in 1975 with Viking I. When Curiosity booted up its onboard equipment last August, one of the instruments used to analyze rock and soil samples was the ChemCam, a laser-zapping device built by Los Alamos geochemist Wiens. Here Wiens uses his involvement with this latest Martian venture as a springboard for an engaging history of robotic space exploration from the Genesis project that initiated his career to the unique problems he and his team faced with the one ton, jeep-sized Curiosity. Along with fascinating anecdotes about the bureaucratic challenges and equipment snafus he needed to overcome to get ChemCam loaded onto the rover, Wiens also describes the feats of engineering that produced Genesis in 2004, a probe designed to capture solar wind. A remarkable memoir and testament to the ingenuity of the space program's many scientists who build the tools needed to explore our solar system.--Hays, Carl Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "This entertaining insider account of Wiens's work on two groundbreaking robotic space explorers-the Genesis and Curiosity rovers-captures all the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of modern space science. An early fascination with all things intergalactic led Wiens from a childhood of model rockets to a career at NASA after the Challenger disaster. Under the leadership of administrator Dan Goldin, the rattled agency focused its efforts on discovery missions: small, specialized, and relatively cheap robotic programs. Wiens's Genesis project-a probe that would collect samples of solar wind and return them to Earth-made the cut and launched in 2001 after years of planning. Despite an unexpected crash landing, Genesis vindicated itself by delivering valuable data intact. Wiens's next pitch persuaded NASA to add the ChemCam, a device that uses a laser to burn minerals to reveal their composition, to a Mars rover, but everything from forest fires and funding issues to lab closures and the loss of the Columbia in 2003 kept ChemCam Earthbound until Curiosity launched in 2011. Wiens brings his work to life, candidly addressing the inevitable technological and bureaucratic obstacles and failures that compose the frustrating prelude to scientific victory. 16 b&w images. Agent: Felicia Eth, Felicia Eth Literary Representation. (Mar. 12) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Wiens, Roger.
Curiosity (Spacecraft) -- Instruments.
Genesis (Spacecraft)
Space robotics.
Roving vehicles (Astronautics) -- Instruments.
Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy.
Mars (Planet) -- Exploration.
Publisher New York :Basic Books,2013
Language English
Description 233 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 217-218) and index.
ISBN 9780465055982 (hardcover : alk. paper)
0465055982 (hardcover : alk. paper)
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