When Steve Squyres was thirteen years old, watching the first person walk on the moon, he never thought that he would one day be part of a record-breaking space mission himself. It wasnâ™t until college that he first saw strange and beautiful photographs of Marsâa planet that hadnâ™t been explored and wasnâ™t understoodâand knew immediately what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Steve is the man behind Spirit and Opportunity, the twin vehicles called rovers who have been cruising around the red planet since 2003. Scientists hoped that the little robots would bring them a few steps closer to answering the question people have asked for so long: is there life on other planets? The mission was supposed to last three months. But the rovers still soldier on, years later, tens of millions of miles away from home, in what may well be the most successful space mission ever. What was it like to come up with the idea for these rovers? And what sort of challenges did Steve and his team face? In this nail-biting and eye-opening entry in the acclaimed Scientists in the Field series, author Elizabeth Rusch takes readers behind the scenes and straight into mission control -- where it seemed like everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Running out of power, getting stuck in ditches, becoming lost in dust storms -- Spirit and Opportunity faced numerous challenges, and each time, Steve and his talented colleagues devised a way to solve the problems facing their beloved rovers. If you ever wondered if robotic cars could make a room full of adults laugh, cry, and shout for joy, then your answer is here. And for every child who looks up into the dark night and wonders if he or she might solve some of the mysteries of our universe, Steve's story is nothing short of inspiring. With amazing photos from NASA and Steve's personal collection, this is a perfect addition to our already-stellar Scientists in the Field series.
The story of the two robot vehicles, Spirit and Opportunity, that were sent to explore Mars, lasting far past their projected lives of 3 months and sending back invaluable images of the environmentally hostile planet.