Martian Summer

A Store That Sells Only
One Book: The Owner’s

Some may say that the publishing industry is all but ready to fold, but authors everywhere are surely not taking the news lying down. After the man who scored a bestselling book without a single word printed on it, add now another, who opened a whole store to sell just one book: his own.
Andrew Kessler wrote “Martian Summer: Robot Arms, Cowboy Spacemen, and My 90 Days with the Phoenix Mars Mission” and decided that his experience embedded with NASA, documenting activities of its lander on the surface of the Red Planet, was worth setting up a pop-up store to sell it.
No need to say that the Ed’s Martian Store, which opened last month in Greenwich Village, New York, with 3,000 books in stock and still has a few weeks left before closing for good, has attracted a great deal of attention.
And the book’s timing was also good: what, with the Space Shuttle Program’s second-to-last mission attracting headlines this month, and April’s 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin first flight, space is suddenly hot again, however short-lived its current public exposure turns out to be.
The 5-month long Phoenix mission, which landed on Mars three years ago this month, gathered important scientific evidence of water under the surface of the planet’s North Pole, and provided evidence of volcanic and geological activity as recent as a few million years ago.
“Martian Summers” is Kessler account of his 3-month unrestricted access to Mission Control, chronicling the work of about 130 scientists led by Peter Smith, who remotely conducted the experiments the Phoenix Mars Lander performed at over 55 million kilometers from the earth.
Timing for the Phoenix or any other mission to Mars is of absolute essence. Due to the vagaries of their orbits, the two planets can be over 400 million kilometers apart at certain times. So it’s a good thing Kessler displays a certain savvy about it too; after all, we don’t know about Mars, but here on Earth we’re just about to hit summer big time.

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