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On Mars

Exploration of the Red Planet 1958-1978 (NASA SP-4212) - Comprehensive Official History of the Viking Program and Man's First Successful Landing on Mars, Voyager and Mariner Programs

David N. Spires

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


This official NASA history document - converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction - is a comprehensive and insightful account of America's Mars exploration program in the early days of the space program, culminating in the successful Viking landings in 1976.

While NASA's first attempts to land craft on Mars were successful, that success did not come without a struggle. Chapter 1 examines the reasons scientists wished to have a closeup look at Mars and describes the new opportunities that opened with the coming of space travel. As Chapter 2 indicates, the dream was not transformed into reality until new and reliable launch vehicles became available in the mid-1960s, but the scientific community began early to prepare for landed investigations of the planet. Despite initial photographic evidence that did not encourage the search for life, a small group of biological scientists-who called themselves exobiologists-began to develop instrumentation that would serve as the prototypes for life detectors on spacecraft that might fly in the future. These activities are related in Chapter 3, while Chapter 4 deals with the plans for NASA's first Mars lander project, called Voyager. The aggressive team at the Virginia center entered the Mars game just in time to see Voyager terminated. Chapter 5 chronicles the Langley entry into the planetary spacecraft business. Chapter 6 tells the story of the Viking orbiter within the context of advanced Mariner Mars spacecraft. As Chapter 7 indicates, the Viking lander demanded many new inventions. As Chapter 8 recounts, there was considerable debate over the best places to land, given both scientific interests and engineering constraints. Site certification, described in Chapter 9, became a renewed search for suitable and safe areas on Mars. For nearly a month, the project members labored to find a safe haven for the lander. Viking, NASA's most complex unmanned space project to that date were many stories of great human effort and some of personal sacrifice. But the scientific results were the payoff. To have proved the technological capability to design, build, navigate, and land a spacecraft on Mars was not enough. Chapters 10 and 11 outline the scientific results of the Viking investigations and examine some of the unresolved questions.

Contents: Chapter 1: Why Mars? * Attractive Target for Exploration * Objectives in Space * Chapter 2: The Cart Before the Horse: Mariner Spacecraft and Launch Vehicles * Evolution of Unmanned Space Exploration to 1960 * Centaur: Troublesome Launch Vehicle * Chapter 3: The Search for Martian Life Begins: 1959-1965 * The Rise of Exobiology as a Discipline * The Results of Mariner 4 * Chapter 4: Voyager: Perils of Advanced Planning, 1960-1967 * Origins of Voyager * Misfortunes of Voyager * Chapter 5: Reorganization and the Creation of Viking * Langley Enters the Mars Business * Problem Management Assignments and Budgets * Support for Mars Exploration * The Mission Mode Decision * Chapter 6: Viking Orbiter and Its Mariner Inheritance * Mariner Mars 69 * Mariner Mars 71 * First Phase of Viking Orbiter Planning * Viking Mission Definition No 2 * Mariner 69 Science Results * Quarterly Review * Money Problems at NASA * Working toward July 1975 * Chapter 7: Viking Lander: Creating The Science Teams * A Team of Scientists * Selecting a Contractor * Scientists, Instruments, and Subcontractors * Chapter 8: Viking Lander: Building A Complex Spacecraft * Lander Mission Profile * Science Data Return * Top Ten Problems * Testing the Lander * Reorganizations and Additional Cutbacks * Preparing for Launch * Chapter 9: Safe Havens: Selecting Landing Sites for Viking * Financial Problems Threaten Orbital Imaging System * Preparing for Site Selection

On Mars
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Astronomy
  • Published: Jan 13, 2012
  • Publisher: Progressive Management
  • Seller: Smashwords
  • Print Length: 741 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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