THE MARS PROJECT: Journeys Beyond the Cold War by Spark M. Matsunaga

THE MARS PROJECT: Journeys Beyond the Cold War

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A visionary proposal by Senator Matsunaga for international cooperation in the realm of peace. Matsunaga has sponsored several congressional resolutions to preclude US--USSR confrontation in space. Here, he relates the background for his resolutions and calls for a sequel to the International Geophysical Year, to be called an International Space Year in 1992, in time to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus' journey (or the 75th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, for that part of the world). His grand call is for a joint American-Russian manned mission to Mars by the end of this century. In suggesting this, Matsunaga is no dewy-eyed idealist. He offers well-reasoned background to demonstrate that the resources are, indeed, available for such a mission. (Actually, it appears that Russia's intention in keeping men in orbit for eight months at a time is to ready them for such a mission. Does this mean plans for another Sputnik-like surprise?) Matsunaga argues that in the past our military has always led the way in exploration, whereas now they draw pay for make-work projects. Thus, he suggests that the Air Force be assigned responsibility for his pet project. It would, he writes, both inspire the military and lead us inevitably towards an exciting Mars landing. The book was written prior to the recent shuttle disaster, so there is no mention as to how that shock might affect Washington's response to such a risky mission.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1986
Publisher: Hill & Wang/Farrar Straus & Giroux