With all the probes recently landing on Mars, it’s no wonder we feel that the planet is close enough to vacation there. Robert Zubrin has such a scheme already in place for his book entitled “How to Live on Mars – A Trusty Guidebook to Surviving and Thriving on the Red Planet“. Though vacationers are welcome, he much more expects the arrival of immigrants who are ready and raring to put spade into ground for a homestead of the future.
Even though people have yet to land on Mars, our probes peer down, crawl upon and drill into all parts of the Martian surface. From them, we’ve a good understanding of the atmospheric make-up, the surface composition and likely sub-surface material. And, results indicate that people could exist on that planet, but it would be anything other than a comfortable existence. At least at the beginning.
Though the future’s not certain, Zubrin’s book takes the possibly optimistic view of a wise Martian resident providing glimmers of hope for new immigrants. Using an active, present tense, his book dollops up words and ideas of wisdom, such as selecting an appropriate space suit, deciding on the best location for a space hab, and fine-stepping through bureaucratic shenanigans. A humorous slant on the decision making and a slight bend toward technical details make the reading fun and informative. Occasionally, the reader may forget that the book’s proverbial vantage point occurs sometime about a hundred years in the future.
Were this book only providing a light and possible view of human activities in the future, it would have made for a very enjoyable read. But, Zubrin can’t seem to resist throwing darts and arrows at apparently favourite targets of NASA, big business and government bureaucracy. An occasional jab would have grounded the book into mainstream opinion. But, Zubrin takes every issue in the guide book and glamorizes his decision at the expense of “the charlatans of NASA” and corrupt governments. Thus, even though the perspective is from the future, the book seems a critique of the present.
Yet, Zubrin has a lot of experience in the space field, including living at a Mars analog. This experience comes alive in the book, whether from the viewpoint of people on Mars who soar with flying chickens or who safe habitation modules from marauding goats. And yes, with a lot of people on Mars, there will be need for governments and some corruption will likely exist. After all people aren’t perfect. But, we still have to get there, and reading this book may help place us all a little closer to living upon that not so far away planet.
Once we have the vehicles to carry our bodies to Mars and once a substantial number of people live there, then we will need guidebooks on how the rest of us can join in. Though perhaps jumping the gun a bit, Robert Zubrin’s book “How to Live on Mars – A Trusty Guidebook to Surviving and Thriving on the Red Planet” presents one particular view on people’s needs to living on that little red speck that we see in the night sky. Perhaps with more people imagining our presence there, then we won’t have to wait so long for the eventuality to occur.