Over the Christmas break, I watched the National Geographic Channel’s excellent drama-cum-documentary series Mars. A couple of episodes in, as one of the documentary sequences interviewed Stephen L. Petranek, I had a moment of realisation: hang on, I have this book and it’s one I haven’t read yet!
To the Bookcave, Batman!
Petranek’s How We’ll Live On Mars, like all the TED Books series, is short and sharp. It’s fewer than 100 pages, designed to be read in a single sitting (or maybe two, if you get interrupted). All the authors have done TED Talks, and like those talks, these books are supposed to be teasers – introducing you to a topic and encouraging further exploration.
How We’ll Live On Mars is no different, and like Petranek’s talk at TED2015, introduces a fascinating topic as humankind prepares to take its first truly long-term steps into space.
Addressing issues of the necessary science and engineering, the emergence of privately funded space exploration as NASA is progressively impoverished in a USA where science seems to be the enemy, the practicalities of daily life on a planet inimical to human life, and what it might take over the longer term to terraform Mars into a place more easily inhabited by humans, How We’ll Live On Mars is a fascinating teaser into a topic that will become increasingly important as humankind seems hell-bent on ignoring anthropogenic global warming and destroying the climate and environment of our home world.