Almost thirty years after the first human landing on the Moon, the United States and the U.S.S.R. launch separate spacecraft that fly alongside one another toward Mars. Each spacecraft serves as an emergency backup for the other and provides the opportunity for crew exchanges during the tedious 22-month journey.
After landing on Phobos—on of the tiny potato-shaped moons of Mars—the crews carry out experiments to determine the safety of landing on the Martian surface. Months later, one astronaut and one cosmonaut board a small, simply designed sortie module, descend to the Martian surface, plant flags, and ascend back to Phobos—all in a matter of hours.
A far-out dream? Author Brian O’Leary, a former astronaut, believes it can be a reality if the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. cooperate in space exploration and set goals now for a 1998-1999 mission. In fact, plans have already begun for sending people to Mars. Since the Soviets are clearly interested in Mars, a joint mission would make political, economic, and scientific sense. But a bewildering variety of mission approaches are emerging.
In Mars 1999, Brian O’Leary outlines his vision for an exciting approach to a join Mars mission. In a letter included in this book, O’Leary urges the President to give high priority to a Mars voyage. This first in a series of missions would enable us not only to pay for missions but also to fuel a rapidly growing infrastructure on the Moon and on Mars by 2005.
Brian O’Leary, a former NASA astronaut, is a noted space lecturer and chairman of the national Space Council. He has served on U.S. congressional staffs and on the faculties of Cornell, University of California at Berkeley, Caltech, and Princeton.
A recognized expert on our future in space, Dr. O’Leary has published over 100 papers in the professional literature in planetary science and astronautics. He is the author of several books, including Project Space Station (published by Stackpole), Spaceship Titanic, and Fertile Stars.