Return to Mars by Ben Bova

 

Science Fiction

Return to Mars Return to MarsBen Bova; EOS 2000WorldCatJamie Waterman was on and took over the first crewed (not “manned”) mission to Mars six years earlier. He helped discover life on Mars. Now there is a second mission to the planet. After politics and lobbying, he is returning to Mars as the mission director.

Jamie is also Navajo. His grandfather was a major influence in Jamie’s life until the older man dies at the beginning of this book. Jamie takes his grandfather’s memories and beliefs with him when he returns to Mars.

The trouble brewing for the Mars mission is back on Earth. The second mission was financed through private funding. Darrell Trumbull, the man who coordinated the funding, and who provided the most, wants the mission to return a large profit. To help, his son Dex Trumbull is one of the geologists on the trip. Dex and Jamie are competitive and both struggle to control the long mission (one Martian year, almost two Earth years). They are both attracted to the same woman. They both have their own agenda of exploration and discoveries they want to make. Yet they are both professional scientists and also have to cooperate.The elder Trumbull does his best to control the mission through both of them as he remains on Earth.

The first mission discovered life on Mars. What will the second mission find? What problems will they have? Will the red planet allow them to stay? Will the people on the mission itself and those back on Earth allow them to stay? How do they protect Mars from invasion of people, yet still have future scientific expeditions?

This is a look at the exploration of Mars from a believable viewpoint based on today’s knowledge; it is also a study of people, personalities, politics, and money. Most of the action takes place on Mars, yet actions and reactions on Earth are also recorded. This is a novel about control that happens to have a fictional background firmly based in the possibilities of our current knowledge of science and Mars. Dex Trumbull even has plans to retrieve Sojurner and Voyager from the Mars trip in the early 1990’s. It is an excellent book.

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