Books : reviews

Rod Pyle.
Curiosity: an inside look at the Mars Rover Mission and the people who made it happen.
Prometheus Books. 2014

A behind-the-scenes look into the recent mission of Curiosity—the unmanned rover whose journey of discovery is providing researchers with unprecedented information about Mars. Drawing on his contacts at NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Rod Pyle provides stunning insights into how this enthusiastic team of diverse individuals uses a revolutionary onboard laboratory of chemistry, geology, and physics instruments to unravel the secrets of the red planet.

Meet Robert Manning, chief engineer for every rover mission since Pathfinder; John Grotzinger, chief scientist; Vandi Tompkins, the software designer who keeps the rover on track; Bobak Ferdowsi, famed famed "Mohawk Guy" from mission control; Adam Steltzner, the Elvis-like entry, descent, and landing lead: Al Chen, chief of flight dynamics and the voice of JPL during Curiosity’s treacherous landing; and many others.

Py1e also describes the adventures of the Curiosity rover—the most advanced machine ever sent to another planet—from landing, through discovering a habitable past on the planet, to reaching its ultimate target: Mount Sharp, in the center of Gale Crater.