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The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must
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The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  1,859 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
Since the beginning of human history, Mars has been an alluring dream—the stuff of legends, gods, and mystery. The planet most like ours, it has still been thought impossible to reach, let alone explore and inhabit. But all that changed when leading space exploration authority Robert Zubrin crafted a daring new blueprint, Mars Direct. When it was first published in 1996, T ...more
Paperback, 383 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Free Press (Simon & Schuster) (first published 1996)
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Andrew Yes, I think so. There is some criticism of politics, but the best parts of the book are those discussing the mission itself and the technical…moreYes, I think so. There is some criticism of politics, but the best parts of the book are those discussing the mission itself and the technical competencies required. (less)
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Angela Blount
Jan 10, 2012 Angela Blount rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction

In using this book for research purposes, I've been delighted with the wealth of practical information it offers. The Case For Mars is a history lesson, a speculative thesis, a business proposal, and a visionary rally cry—all in one.

The author lays his foundation on some of the more relevant origins of humanity's relationship with astronomy, astrophysics, and the planet Mars—managing accuracy without any petty attempts to pit science against religion or vice versa. The background he provided on
Dan Cowden
Dec 11, 2011 Dan Cowden rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, space, technical
Falling victim to many of the same biases he rails against other visionaries and scientists for having, Zubrin proceeds to display a zealot's lack of a grounding in reality. The technical bits "proving" that Mars is the place to go in the solar system are amusingly one-sided -- despite the fact that many of the ideas for building habitats within lunar orbit are much more cost-effective if those habitats are allowed to use materials from Near-Earth Orbit asteroids, which are far easier to exploit ...more
Aug 16, 2015 Jessica rated it it was ok
Shelves: science, library
If you read this, make sure to get the revised 2011 edition, which incorporates discoveries made by the robotic missions to Mars since the book was first published in 1996. The bulk of the book lays out the technology and strategy for the "Mars Direct" plan to get humans to Mars and set up a base and eventually a colony there. This was all really interesting, and though it necessarily got into some tricky science at points, it remained pretty accessible for readers without science backgrounds.

P.J. Sullivan
May 05, 2013 P.J. Sullivan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
The Red Planet fascinates me but I am convinced that humans will never settle it. It will always be beyond the range of human habitability. The lesser gravity, the cosmic radiation, the dust storms, the hostile climate, the thinness of the atmosphere, the absence of liquid water, the human factors, etc., would require superhuman technological and human adaptations. It will never be profitable or cost effective. This book offers solutions, mostly hi-tech and very expensive. Despite its optimism t ...more
Very detailed. Includes everything from NASA's policy for Mars colonization and rocket programs and recent developments (keep in mind that the book is pretty dated), to terraforming of Mars. A very good book if you're interested in the subject matter. It could have been even better if it wasn't dry so often. Still a pretty informative read.
Charlie George
Oct 28, 2008 Charlie George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: will-re-read, science
Terrific, original engineering writing. Mr. Zubrin is a visionary thinker. I agree with the comments that a program such as this should have been executed long ago, and it remains an important goal.

We are now nearing the end of the 10-year window Zubrin laid out for establishing continuous human colonization of Mars. I remember several sources indicating that NASA took the research seriously, but apparently not enough to pursue it, which is a shame.

After all the ingenious engineering recommendat
Cassandra Kay Silva
Aug 03, 2011 Cassandra Kay Silva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
I like that someone eager to use government money is also eager to find a way to make that money go a long way and become feasible. One of my biggest problems with government spending is that once people get the money in hand they have no connection to it. It becomes this free flowing pipe from the government and everyone just tries to bank on getting as much of it as possible for their own research. I think the author makes a good point towards then end, and I have always felt that things would ...more

I had to put this book on my "to-be-read" (long) list, after reading my friend's review*; a pessimist one, implying Mars exploration/colonization is not mankind's destiny. Something I totally disagree on. I even commented on the review this way: "Great review; yet, I cannot understand your skepticism; I hope you're aware of the efforts (and hope) of other nations; namely this mission: MARS ONE:
Jul 05, 2007 Sab rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, science, space
A nonfiction, science-based approach to what it would take to colonize Mars, and why we should. This book covers everything from proper dome construction to kevlar space elevators to hydroponic farming to the advent of space hotels, and makes a compelling case for exactly how we can settle Mars -- and why we really SHOULD.

And yet, somehow, Kim Robinson's "Green Mars," a fiction genre novel, taught me more about terraforming the red planet than Zubrin did.
Rita Monticelli
Apr 18, 2012 Rita Monticelli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, scienza
Ma perché non siamo ancora andati su Marte?

È la domanda che mi è sorta spontanea più volte, leggendo questo saggio originariamente datato 1996. Sono passati 16 anni e ancora nessun uomo è arrivato su Marte, né se ne parla come una cosa che avverrà in tempi brevi. Eppure, leggendo questo libro del fondatore della Mars Society, la tecnologia per arrivarci, esplorarlo e tornare indietro c'è già. Anzi, c'era già 16 anni fa.
Ma allora perché siamo ancora tutti qui?
Bella domanda, ma ad essere bello è
Kieran Fanning
Feb 22, 2017 Kieran Fanning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't normally read non-fiction so I can't say this was an easy read and the at time very scientific & technical parts of this book were a real struggle. But perhaps that is more my fault than the book's. The book is possibly very outdated at this stage but nevertheless Zubrin makes an interesting Case for Mars. He seems very credible and knowledgeable and the writing is good.
Aug 03, 2011 Stonebender rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As long as Mr. Zubrin talks about the mechanics of getting to Mars cheaply through his proposed Mars Direct plan, the book was very interesting. In some cases I just didn't have the math to follow some of his proof, but the main idea is that we can get to Mars relatively cheaply by doing two things: not build all the space infrastructure (space stations, moon base etc.), just go to Mars directly. Then, rather than bring everything we need to Mars, use resources found on Mars to reduce costs. He ...more
Jack Chaucer
Jul 20, 2015 Jack Chaucer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Zubrin makes a strong case for human colonization of Mars and, surprising to me at least, that we already should've been there by now. JFK would be disappointed that we didn't take his model for going to the moon many, many moons ago and apply it to Mars. At least we've got rovers there, but politics, complacency and a stagnant sense of adventure and frontier spirit have set us back from experiencing Mars the way it should be experienced -- with our own hands in the red dirt, our own fing ...more
Mar 10, 2015 Spyros rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the planning of the first mission, to colonisation, terraforming and interplanetary commerce, this work is the most comprehensive non-fiction book about humanity's future on Mars. Or at least how it should happen.
It's technical detail is extensive although romanticism about our future as an interplanetary species is not absent.
Any science fiction writer who cares about scientific accuracy should read or rather study this book. Sometimes it feels like reading a university textbook but it's
If nothing else read the epilogue.
This book is a quick read for laypersons to get an understanding of how it would be possible to explore and then settle another planet. From how to get there to what we would do there to how we would make it possible to populate. While I still wouldn't sign up to go, at least certainly not in the first waves anyway, I find myself advocating the opportunity for those who would.

Reading this book has changed my way of thinking. Not only about space exploration and
Oct 08, 2009 ActionScientist rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received my copy of this book from Robert Zubrin himself, at his Pioneer Astronautics workshop in Denver. Inside is written "To Dave, See you on Mars! Aug 17, 2000", signed "RZ".

The book is well written and flows a bit like a novel, however the basic mission plans requires a (probably unrealistically) large budget for building big rockets. SpaceX appears to be the most likely to succeed workaround.

In my opinion, whomever puts this projects together and actually pulls it off with a live crew
Nicola Di padova
Dec 09, 2014 Nicola Di padova rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un libro davvero interessante e ben scritto che, oltre ad illustrare un piano fattibile e coerente per l'esplorazione del Pianeta Rosso attuabile già nel prossimo decennio, è anche una critica alla stagnante società contemporanea che ha rinunciato alla ricerca di nuove sfide. Decisamente consigliato!
Great book going though a realistic and cheap plan on how to get manned flights to Mars as well as exploring, colonizing and terraforming the red planet. Full of astrophysics, chemistry, engineering and (some) politics. Exciting read!
May 31, 2013 Erik rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Zubrin's Mars Direct mission architecture has been very influential amongst space enthusiasts, but his chapter on why we must settle Mars is merely lightly reworked Frederick Jackson Turner.
This is the manifesto which propelled engineer Robert Zubrin into the forefront of advocating human exploration of Mars.

This is at least partly based on prior work by scientists at the Case for Mars conferences in the 1980s, of which Zubrin was a participating member. The Case for Mars conferences were a series of meetings by NASA scientists and other interested scientists, conducted outside of NASA's aegis. The ideas and demeanor of those conferences have been influential to NASA's Mars explora
May 21, 2017 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought it was well written and inspiring. I thought there were some things that could have been more clear pertaining to technical aspects of a mission. I believe more in private enterprise than in government getting this done though. The NASA Mars mission has been a long time coming and 2030 is a long way off yet. Elon is planning to send people to Mars, but with no where to go when they arrive I think we need the private sector to step up and collaborate.
Dec 23, 2012 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those who are interested in exploring the red planet. This book is a must. We are always seeing the exploits of NASA's rovers on the red planet. Being told about all the excellent work that they're doing. The truth is, the sum total of what the Mars rovers and probes of the space age have done could have been done by a geologist and a biochemist in a day. Any meaningful exploration of the red planet to determine weather it has or ever did have life, oceans and how earth-like its been in the ...more
Fraser Kinnear
Dec 30, 2015 Fraser Kinnear rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Absolutely fantastic. This book is the result of a large report that the author published while he was working at NASA, and was a reponse to a facepalm/foot-in-mouth report that NASA put out requested by Bush 41 that estimated ~$1/2 trillion expense. His revised plan is called "Mars Direct".

This book basically a high-level how-to guide for the following:
1. The best (cheapest) way to send a human expidition to Mars, including the orbital dynamics, payload size, type of propulsion, and frequency o
Stuart Aken
Apr 22, 2016 Stuart Aken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Subtitled, The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must, this extraordinary work by Robert Zubrin, with Richard Wagner, is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in Mars either as an observer or as, in my case, a writer of science fiction.

In researching for my novel about Mars, I’ve read a great deal of the literature both in books and online. Zubrin’s book has proved the most thought-provoking, and the most inspirational. An aerospace engineer and writer, he’s also the founder of the
Charles Daney
Keep in mind that this book was published in 1996 – almost 20 years ago. Part of the background is that the first President Bush had in July 1989 proposed a manned mission to Mars. Interest in such a mission has recently heated up, with several private organizations making their own proposals and the appearance of a popular (but disappointing, in my opinion) movie, The Martian. Nothing much, however, happened after Bush's proposal. This was undoubtedly because the price tag was subsequently esti ...more
May 09, 2012 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent book for those who would like to update themselves on Mars exploration through the 1990's. At this point in 2012, the 1990's idea of convincing society that we need to focus on Mars exporation more is a bit dated. At the time, NASA was waist deep busy in trying to establish integrity for Discovery missions to build the ISS, and our country was not too worried about financing funding for space travel in general the way it is today. Hence, the book gives the feeling that Mar ...more
Folkert Wierda
Jun 29, 2013 Folkert Wierda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: futurology
Definitively a book worth reading. I guess the best part is at the end of the book, where Zubrin presents the Frontier-hypothesis as a strong argument in favor of space exploration and space colonization: Without a frontier and a frontier mentality our human society petrifies and loses one of its main drivers for progress. This argument he presents in a convincing fashion.

Also at the end of the book the author presents, in an appendix, the so-called panspermia hypothesis: The idea that life on E
Feb 17, 2016 Frrobins rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A very detailed and passionately laid plan to reach, settle, and terraform Mars, I think I found where the author of "The Martian" started his research. I struggle a bit because the last few chapters so glorified America's frontier spirit without mentioning the fact that we nearly committed genocide in the process rather galling and while, as far as we know, no life exists on Mars, Zubrin does bring up the possibility that we may find life in underground water reservoirs, which if this were to p ...more
Feb 06, 2014 Dan rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: I'm an astronaut candidate with Mars One, a non-profit organization that is seeking to put people permanently on Mars within the next decade. Much of Mars One's technology roadmap is based upon this book. So I am definitely coming at this with a certain bias.

I'm waiving my self-imposed rule in order to give this a 5-star rating without having re-read it yet. I'm doing so because I believe the content to be so solid and important to understanding our need to go to Mars as well as
James Watson
Aug 08, 2013 James Watson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first 2/3 of this book are wonderful. Robert Zubrin has laid out a reasoned, believable plan for a manned mission to Mars operating on current technology and based on current understanding of space travel. This plan is revealed in steps with building enthusiasm that starts to shine out of the page, and it may not be possible to read this book without getting excited about future missions to Mars. As an engineer reading an engineer's book, I would have liked to see more detail, but I understa ...more
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