NASA is in shambles. While they’ll continue to talk up all the exciting discoveries probes and satellites can make we all know that crewed missions are where the excitement is. So if the government isn’t sending humans into space, how are we going to get to Mars?

“Politics is your end of the stick … My job is engineering, not ass-kissing.”

page 109

Art Thrasher and is merry band of billionaires are going to send us there. A few billion a year for a few years should be enough, right? Hire a talented engineer, buy a launch pad in Australia (wouldn’t want to comply with US Government regulations or anything), have some sex with the right news reporters and scientists, and drink a few hundred pints of ginger beer. Done!

Why is this on our bookshelf?

This is a new book from Ben Bova — a prolific and successful science fiction novelist. Furthermore it’s about Mars. So it’s going to be great, right?

Sadly that wasn’t the case, but I still feel strongly that books like this should be written. The world needs writers like Bova inspiring us to continue exploring space. I want to be inspired. More importantly, I want other people to be inspired. Maybe Mars Inc, to the right person, can be that inspiration.

Rating (2 stars)

It may be shocking to hear, but I don’t hang out in social circles of the ridiculously wealthy. In fact, I’m not sure I even know someone making six figures, let alone anyone making ten. Therefore I can only presume that the ridiculously wealthy have motivations, backstories, and complex reasons for their decisions just like us proletarian citizens.

So what motivates Art Thrasher to assemble a group of billionaires to invest in a cause none of them believe in? The answer is two short cliché paragraphs on page 16. Two paragraphs are meant to let us believe that Art will do anything to get to Mars. Okay, so that’s Art’s motivation, but we get even less from folks putting up $1B per year (the so-called Billionaire’s Club), the scientists and engineers busting their asses for him, and a distinct shallowness around the women he dates.

But it’s about Mars and space travel. And the recent successes of SpaceX and Virgin Galactic have proven that commercial space travel can be viable. It’s true, that all it takes is one crazy idea and the money to back it up. Private corporations could be the one to take us to Mars. Perhaps they should be the one to take us to Mars. But I suspect the person to lead us there will be a lot closer to Elon Musk than Art Thrasher.