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Spend a summer exploring the Martian arctic—something that has taken nearly the entirety of human knowledge to achieve

There’s never been a better time to be an armchair astronaut. Forget this planet. The economy is terrible, global warming inevitable, and there are at least eight major wars happening right now. That’s why Kessler left home and moved to Mars. Well, not all the way to Mars. The closest spot on Earth you can get without a rocket. In the summer of 2008, he lived a space dream, spending three months in mission control of The Phoenix expedition with 130 top NASA scientists and engineers as they explored Mars. This story is a human drama about modern-day Magellans battling NASA politics—you haven’t lived until you’ve seen this miracle of birth from the inside—and the bizarre world of daily life in mission control. Kessler was the first outsider ever granted unfettered access to such an event, giving us a true Mars exclusive.
 
The Phoenix Mars mission was the first man-made probe ever sent to the Martian arctic. They planned to find out how climate change can turn a warm wet planet (read: Earth) into a cold barren desert (read: Mars). That might seem like a trivial pursuit, but it’s probably the most impressive feat we humans can achieve. It takes nearly the entirety of human knowledge to do it. This is only the sixth landing on Mars. Along the way, Phoenix discovered a giant frozen ocean trapped beneath the north pole of Mars, exotic food for aliens and liquid water. This is not science fiction. It’s fact. Not bad for a summer holiday.

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