Category: Non-Fiction
Reviewed by: Susan Raizer
From Ad Astra Summer 2015
Title: Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission
Author: Marc Kaufman
NSS Amazon link for this book
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 304
Publisher: National Geographic
Date: August, 2014
Retail Price: $40.00
ISBN: 978-1426212789

The current Curiosity Rover Mission to Mars continues to succeed—and in ways not even imagined, but hoped for, by the mission planners, scientists, and engineers operating the mission.

This book is a coffee-table size, visually beautiful book containing color pictures and charts. The narrative is enhanced by highlighting the scientists and engineers who were responsible for the day-to-day operations of the rover. Embedded at Jet Propulsion Labs for two years, the author learned about the people involved and how their experiences helped them during crises. He participated with them during the highs and lows of the mission. The book is crammed full of stunning photos and artist conceptualizations of Mars and Earth. The photos make Mars an inviting place to visit one day with its stark, pristine landscape.

The book begins with Curiosity’s landing on Mars in what NASA described as the “seven minutes of terror.” Throughout the book, as more and more discoveries were made about Mars with tools and cameras specifically designed for the mission, from the unusual rock formations to what was found in the rocks and soil, the author reports how the scientists compared these findings to similar events that occurred in Earth’s past. This led them to hypothesize that Mars was a much wetter place for far longer than originally thought. Knowing that water was abundant on Mars in the past makes it enticing to believe that other findings might one day reveal Martian life.

The narrative of Curiosity’s trek ends as it approaches the mountain, but the book does not end there. With the author’s interest in astrobiology, he compared how life exists on Earth in the most extreme environments to how life might exist on Mars. The author looks at the potential for human exploration, which would take far less time than having to program the rover from Earth. He also looked at the risks involved for humans. Before humans can live and work on Mars, robots might first arrive to build the habitats.

NSS members will find this book to be entirely enjoyable, visually stimulating and eminently readable.

© 2015 Susan Raiser

Please use the NSS Amazon Link for all your book and other purchases. It helps NSS and does not cost you a cent! Bookmark this link for ALL your Amazon shopping!

NSS Book Reviews Index


Picture of National Space Society

National Space Society

Leave a Comment

future 1

Don't Miss a Beat!

Be the first to know when new articles are posted!

Follow Us On Social Media


Give The Gift Of Space: Membership For Friends and Family

Book Review


ISDC 2025:
Together Beyond!

In Orlando at the Rosen Centre Hotel.
June 19 - 22, 2025


Image of Kalpana One space settlement courtesy Bryan Versteeg, $32,000 in Cash Awards Given for Best Space-Related Business Plans — Deadline March 1, 2024

Category: Nonfiction Reviewed by: John J. Vester Title: Nuclear Rockets: To the Moon and Mars Author: Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried Format: Paperback/Kindle Pages: 270 Publisher:

Partially Successful Flight Reached Space and Demonstrated New “Hot Staging” System The National Space Society congratulates SpaceX on the second test of its Starship/Super Heavy

Ad Astra, the NSS quarterly print, digital, and audio magazine, has won a 2023 MARCOM Gold Award. The awards are given yearly for “Excellence in

By Jennifer Muntz, NSS Member Coordinator On October 10th, an inspiring breakfast event took flight at the Center for Space Education at the Kennedy Space

By Grant Henriksen NSS Policy Committee Benefit sharing is a concept that refers to the distribution of benefits derived from the exploration and use of

People residing and working in space, space settlements, or on long-duration space flights will need to produce infrastructures and food to maintain healthy lifestyles. The

Image: Artist’s concept of the Blue Moon lander. Credit: Blue Origin. Second Human Landing System Contract Encourages Competition and Innovation The National Space Society congratulates