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Cover of 'Return To Mars'Author: Ben Bova

NOTE: This review will contain spoilers for the last book, and a few from this book.

I’ll start right off by saying I enjoyed this book much more than the last. There was far less politics and earth-bound shenanigans (though not completely gone). Rather than politically funded, this trip is largely commercially funded.

Our hero, Jamie Waterman is the only person from the first trip to make it back to Mars. One other character is kept in this book, Pete Conners, as an earth based planner and communications officer.

In Mars, the team stayed on Mars for 45 sol’s, or Mars days. This trip is planned to be a year and a half. This allows for MANY more projects to be accomplished. Officially, a great deal of geological work is to be done, including a trip to the top of Olympus Mons, the highest mountain in the solar system. Unofficially, Jamie wants to return to the Grand Canyon and look for what he thought were cliff dwellings. And a member of the team, Jamie’s number one headache, wishes to retrieve the Pathfinder equipment to sell on Earth to help pay for the next trip.

Return To Mars is set 6 years after Mars, and there are one or two significant technology advances, but nothing really enormous. They have a larger, more comfortable ship to travel to Mars in, but since they’re staying so much longer, it’s still packed tight. They make much more use of Buckyball cables in this book.

There’s also a saboteur in their midst, or so some think.

Pros: MUCH more science, much more Mars exploration, and more exciting discoveries.

Cons: I can’t really think of any.

Final: A great book all around. There was lots of character development, and the book is long enough (over 500 pages as I recall) that there were several facets of the story.

You can buy Return to Mars here.

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