Books : reviews

Rob Manning, William L. Simon.
Mars Rover Curiosity.
Smithsonian Books. 2014

In the course of our enduring quest for knowledge about ourselves and our universe, we haven’t found answers to one of our most fundamental questions: Does life exist anywhere else in the universe? Ten years and billions of dollars in the making, the Mars Rover Curiosity is poised to answer this all-important question.

In Mars Rover Curiosity: An Inside Account from Curiosity’s Chief Engineer, Rob Manning tells of bringing the groundbreaking spacecraft to life. Manning and his team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, tasked with designing a lander many times larger and more complex than any before, faced technical setbacks, fights over inadequate resources, and the challenges of leading an army of brilliant, passionate, and often frustrated experts. Staking careers and reputations on a lander that could not be tested on Earth brougt sheer terror, while finding innovative solutions to problems yielded a sense of victory.

Manning’s fascinating personal account--which includes information from his exclusive interviews with leading Curiosity scientists--is packed with tales of revolutionary feats of science, technology, and engineering. Readers experience firsthand the disappointment at encountering persistent technical problems, the agony of near defeat, and the rush of triumph at Curiosity’s successful touchdown on Mars on August 5, 2012.

This is the story of persistence, dedication, and unrelenting curiosity.