UPDATE - some cool stuff happening around the book!
The book is finally here! The International Mars Research Station - An exciting new plan to create a permanent human settlement on Mars contains approximately 300 pages of science, engineering (including detailed drawings of spacecraft), strategy and philosophy, centred on the idea of establishing a research facility on Mars.
In contrast to the current popular trend of private missions, the IMRS plan proposes an alliance between the world's top 10 space agencies in a similiar vein to the International Space Station. Each mission to the IMRS will be conducted by a international team of six astronauts (three scientists and three engineers), progressively building up infrastructure and assets on the Martian surface.
Cost and political will, not technology, are currently the primary barriers to establishing a human presence on Mars. The IMRS plan includes various synergistic measures to maintain affordability, including:
- spreading the cost among multiple partners
- focusing on a single location
- making use of commercial hardware
- using resources from the Martian environment
The book explains in detail how modern space hardware such as SpaceX reusable Falcon rockets and Dragon capsules, Bigelow Aerospace inflatable habitats, mechanical counter-pressure spacesuits and NASA's new Space Launch System, in conjunction with these strategies, makes it more practical than ever before to send humans to Mars; not merely for one, or even a few missions, but an ongoing series of missions that will lay the foundation for permanent human settlement. Not only can it be achieved more safely and cost effectively than ever before, but in a way that brings the leading nations of Earth together in a noble and historic venture.
If you're at all interested in space exploration, human evolution, future history or planetary science, you will love this book. It is highly readable and delivers a fascinating realisation that humanity can, and will, soon be a multiplanetary species. Although some assumptions are made with regards to basic scientific literacy, the writing style is highly accessible to a wide range of readers, whether layperson, student or experienced engineer. Almost every aspect of establishing a foothold on Mars is addressed: resources, location, hardware, communications, transportation, health, philosophy and more.
Despite being a substantial book, it's priced very cheaply in order to make it as affordable for as many people as possible around the world. If you're unsure about whether this book is for you, you can use the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon, or download a sample to your Kindle. You can even read it online for free. For my part, the most important thing is that people read it, get excited about the idea, and share it with others. The more the idea is shared and discussed the sooner it can be made a reality. And, please, if you feel inclined, please write a review on Amazon and/or tell your friends.
Here's my TEDx talk about IMRS from April 2014: