Exploring Mars: Chronicles from a Decade of Discovery

Front Cover
University of Arizona Press, 2011 - Science - 194 pages

The Red Planet has been a subject of fascination for humanity for thousands of years, becoming part of our folklore and popular culture. The most Earthlike of the planets in our solar system, Mars may have harbored some form of life in the past and may still possess an ecosystem in some underground refuge. The mysteries of this fourth planet from our Sun make it of central importance to NASA and its science goals for the twenty-first century.  

In the wake of the very public failures of the Mars Polar Lander and the Mars Climate Orbiter in 1999, NASA embarked on a complete reassessment of the Mars Program. Scott Hubbard was asked to lead this restructuring in 2000, becoming known as the "Mars Czar." His team's efforts resulted in a very successful decade-long series of missions--each building on the accomplishments of those before it--that adhered to the science adage "follow the water" when debating how to proceed. Hubbard's work created the Mars Odyssey mission, the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Phoenix mission, and most recently the planned launch of the Mars Science Laboratory

Now for the first time Scott Hubbard tells the complete story of how he fashioned this program, describing both the technical and political forces involved and bringing to life the national and international cast of characters engaged in this monumental endeavor.  Blending the exciting stories of the missions with the thrills of scientific discovery, Exploring Mars will intrigue anyone interested in the science, the engineering, or the policy of investigating other worlds.


What people are saying - Write a review

EXPLORING MARS: Chronicles from a Decade of Discovery

User Review  - Kirkus

NASA "Mars Czar" Hubbard (Aeronautics/Stanford Univ.) draws an intimate picture of the Mars Exploration Program, which he fully revamped starting in 2000.After a series of failed, high-profile ... Read full review


1 Mars Is Hard
2 Getting Started
3 Inside the Beltway
4 Follow the Water
5 To Land or Not to Land?
6 The Rover Becomes Rovers
7 Hands across the Water
8 Getting the Word Out
9 All Things to All People
A Mars Odyssey
11 The Queue
12 Zeroing In
Timeline of the New Mars Program

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Scott Hubbard is a professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University. He has been engaged in space-related research as well as program, project, and executive management for more than 35 years. He spent 20 years at NASA, including serving as director of NASA’s Ames Research Center and received NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal.

Bibliographic information