Press Release

James Oberg’s New Book: “2001: A Mars Odyssey, Why human exploration of Mars is crucial to humanity’s future.”

By SpaceRef Editor
October 12, 2001
Filed under , ,

The download price will be $3.95, and the release date will be October 16,
2001. The ISBN is 1-58338-376-X. The book will be available for sale on in October, and will be available in download for pc and
macs, (html format), rocket e-reader format and by CD ($9.95).

Special appendix: How and why our Mars probes fail so often.

by James Oberg ([email protected], phone 281-534-4900, fax 281-337-2838)
Crossroads Publications

In a completely revised and greatly expanded edition of his acclaimed 1982
book, Mission To Mars, space program veteran and author James Oberg
( describes the compelling case for human exploration of
Mars, while detailing the engineering and medical challenges which lie between
today’s space program and the future voyages of people to the Red Planet.

The book is structured around two pioneering conferences of ‘Mars enthusiasts’,
who met in Boulder, Colorado, without (and sometimes in opposition to) official
NASA blessings. The ‘Mars Underground’ revived public interest in Mars
exploration in 1981, and the new ‘Mars Society’ reinvigorated that grass roots
movement in 1998. Oberg melds their ideas, together with official NASA and
Russian studies and some original research of his own, into this book.

Oberg describes the strikingly different motivations of the Apollo moon flights
of the 1960s with the human Mars expeditions expected to occur fifty years
later – one was hardware and hard science oriented, the other is life-science
oriented. He details the compelling value of on-site human exploration over
remote-controlled robotic missions. As a veteran of Mission Control in Houston,
he debunks the persistent myth of boredom and emptiness during the voyage from
Earth to Mars, and he describes in detail exactly what the crew will be
extremely busy doing; he also describes original experiments which he organized
at medical conferences on emergency care to simulate Earth-based support of
Mars crew medical emergencies with a real communications time-delay factored

In a special Appendix (practically a full book on its own), Oberg details how
Mars missions of the past have failed. This analysis shows the carelessness and
errors and even post-accident coverups demonstrated by both the U.S. and
Russian space agencies when faced with their own all-too-human failures in
unmanned Mars exploration. For example, Oberg argues that both governments
found it convenient to mislead the public about where the potentially dangerous
plutonium batteries from Russia’s failed 1996 Mars mission fell back to Earth –
they are NOT safely at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, as officials in both
countries still claim. Also, Oberg prescribes the kind of management and
culture that are an unavoidable prerequisite for future success.

Although the book is a mosaic of details arranged in a coherent, comprehensible
pattern, it is even more than that, as Oberg discusses the human cultural
implications of outposts on Mars and of the ultimate human settlement of that
planet. The cultural impact of space exploration, in forcing humanity to see
itself in a proper perspective in the Universe, may be in the long range the
greatest contribution of this activity. As humans realize that they can bring
life to a currently dead world, the long nightmare of the threat of bringing
death to our own living planet may be banished.

The cover art is a painting by noted space artist Pat Rawlings

This is Oberg’s first electronic book edition; a small trade paperback print
run of 2001: A Mars Odyssey is also planned from Soaring Hawk Productions in
early 2002. His new book Star-Crossed Orbits: Inside the US/Russian Space
Alliance is being released by McGraw-Hill in November. An expanded 20th
anniversary edition of Red Star in Orbit is planned for early next year. Also
in 2002, Oberg expects to release Power Over Earth: Outer Space and the Future
Strength of Nations, and First Stage: Forgotten Chapters of Space History.

Oberg lives on a small ranch in rural Galveston County with his wife Alcestis
(‘Cooky’), along with a collection of horses, cats, and dogs, and with
occasional visits from his two sons in college.

Reviews of Mission To Mars (1982)

“A timely and valuable document” – Sir Bernard Lovell, Nature;

“For the space buff, it is all here” -Science 83;

“Those who exult in man’s destiny in space, or delight in solving engineering
problems, will find that Oberg’s book provides ample fodder” -Kirkus Reviews;

“A carefully reasoned, hardheaded look” – American Library Association

“Well-presented arguments, supported by excellent research” -Astronomy;

“A detailed and scientifically accurate scenario…, exciting and easy to
read.” – NASA’s “Explorer’s Guide to the Universe”.

“Oberg expounds this thesis with infectuous enthisiasm for the general reader.”

Featured on James A. Michener’s “Space” TV mini-series, April 18, 1985, in the
joint CBS & Library of Congress “Read More About It” spot, narrated by Michener
at the end of the program; one of three books recommended.

SpaceRef staff editor.