My Life on Mars: The Beagle 2 Diaries by Prof Colin Pillinger.
First of all, please bear in mind that it has taken me quite a while to read this book – I’ve been rather busy over the last few months with OU studies and so on.
I was 13 on Christmas Day 2003, when Beagle 2 was due to land on Mars. I had got up extra early to pop and the news and see what had happened. It wasn’t good news.
Since then though I have always been astonished that we actually sent a mission to land on Mars, we the British people had made a lander to look for the signs of life on another world. I needed to know how it was done – finally Colin’s book came out.
It’s quite an intense book, there’s a lot of information, a lot of names to follow. I found at times that this made it slightly difficult to read, having to head back a few pages to figure out which person was being discussed now. I understand that in a project as grand as this a lot of people are involved, and at the end of the day the story needs to be told.
In this book we learn about Colin’s family history, his youth, how he became interested in science and eventually how he sent a lander to Mars. I had no idea how difficult it could be. The meetings, the letters, the phone calls, the arguments. I was very surprised about the European Space Agency, this book has changed my opinion of them, and not in a good way. Infact near the end I quite liked this quote regarding ESA ‘The way things are going the Universe will end before ESA arrives on Mars’, this referring to their Aurora programme.
If you’re interested in space exploration and want to understand how a space mission works and is put together this is a must read. It had me laughing and gasping in shock, you’ll enjoy it.
It’s 4 out of 5 from me!
Next book – The God Delusion by Prof Richard Dawkins (finally!)