Winner of the 2007 AIAA History Manuscript Award, Mars Wars: The Rise and Fall of the Space Exploration Initiative investigates one of the most important chapters in the history of the American space program. This is a story of bureaucratic infighting, personality clashes, cultural struggles, and a deeply flawed policy process that ultimately doomed an effort to provide direction to a directionless agency by sending humans to the red planet.
"Thor Hogan has put together a careful and comprehensive account of a failed space initiative that has provided cautionary insights for those planning the U.S. future in space. The nation chose not to go back to the Moon and on to Mars almost twenty years ago. It is embarked on that path now, and one can only hope the results are more positive this time around. Think where we could be by now if we had chosen the exploratory focus proposed by President George H.W Bush in 1989. Hogan's account makes it clear why that did not happen." John Logsdon, The George Washington University
"From even before the beginning of the space age advocates have developed plans for the human exploration of Mars. It was a part of the long range plan of NASA in 1959 and has been a significant goal in NASA's efforts thereafter. In 1989 space advocates persuaded President George H.W. Bush to announce the Space Exploration Initiative, which would lead to a mission to Mars. Thor Hogan's study tells the details of this initiative for the first time, offering an important perspective on the still-born effort as it died a long death in the Washington bureaucracy." Roger Launius, Smithsonian Institution
Contents: Chapter 1: Introduction * The Policy Stream and Punctuated Equilibrium Models * Why Mars? * Canals on Mars * Mars in Popular Culture * Mariner and Viking * Chapter 2: The Origins of SEI * Early Mission Planning * Post-Apollo Planning * Case for Mars * National Commission on Space * The Ride Report * President Reagan and NASA's Office of Exploration * Chapter 3: Bush, Quayle, and SEI * Bush-Quayle 1988 * Reagan-Bush Transition * The Problem Stream: Providing Direction to a Directionless Agency * The Policy Stream: The Ad Hoc Working Group * The Political Stream: Briefing Key Actors * Joining the Streams: Human Exploration of Mars Reaches the Gov. Agenda * Chapter 4: The 90-Day Study * Waiting for NASA * SEI Takes Shape * Mars Wars * Chapter 5: The Battle to Save SEI * Presidential Decisions * SEI Hits the Road * Losing Faith in NASA * The Augustine and Synthesis Group Reports * SEI Fades Away * Chapter 6: SEI, Policy Streams, and Punctuated Equilibrium * Policy Streams, SEI, and the Space Policy Community * Punctuated Equilibrium, Space Policy, and SEI * Chapter 7: The Lessons of SEI