NOT LONG AGO the idea of taking pictures of Mars from its surface was an idea located intermediately between far out and preposterous. It changed from a dream to a concept about ten years ago with the advent of the Viking Program. As so often happens in the exploration of space, we were able to push back the boundaries of the practicable. In retrospect, with success under our belts, it even sounds simple: put cameras on spacecraft, land them on Mars, take pictures, send them back to Earth. Were it so!
In this book Tim Mutch, leader of the Viking Lander Imaging Team, takes you on a journey spanning a decade. Suffer with him as he copes with innumerable meetings, arguments, alternate designs, budget problems, incipient failures, and, at times, sheer exhaustion. Enjoy with him amazement at how teamwork and dedication can manage the impossible. Share in wonderment at technical intricacy, the occasional euphoria of success along the way, and the final exhilaration when magnificent photographs flow back from the rocky plains of Mars.
The Martian Landscape is a tribute to the hundreds of skillful people who made Viking happen. Thanks to them, you are there.