The Sands of Mars (Arthur C. Clarke Collection)
Arthur C. Clarke
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In Clarke's first published full-length science fiction novel, renowned science fiction writer Martin Gibson joins the spaceship Ares, the world's first interplanetary ship for passenger travel, on its maiden voyage to Mars. His mission: to report back to the home planet about the new Mars colony and the progress it has been making.
First published in 1951, before the achievement of space flight, Clarke addresses hard physical and scientific issues with aplomb-and the best scientific understanding of the times. Included are the challenges of differing air pressures, lack of oxygen, food provisions, severe weather patterns, construction on Mars, and methods of local travel-both on the surface and to the planet's two moons.
fever?" exploded Gibson at last. Dr. Scott answered before anyone else could get a word in. "Martian fever isn't really a Martian disease. It seems to be caused by a terrestrial organism that we carried there and which liked the new climate more than the old one. It has the same sort of effect as malaria: people aren't often killed by it, but its economic effects are very serious. In any one year the percentage of man-hours lost--" "Thank you very much. I remember all about it now. And the
once he had launched himself through the outer door. He jetted slowly over the gleaming expanse of hull with his reaction units until he came to the section of plating he had already removed. Underneath it a network of cables and wires lay nakedly exposed to the blinding sunlight, and one of the cables had already been cut. He made a quick temporary connection, shaking his head sadly at the horrible mismatch that would certainly reflect half the power right back to the transmitter. Then he found
great river had flowed this way to lose its waters in the Mare Erythraeum-one of the few Martian "seas" to be correctly, if somewhat belatedly, named. They stopped the Flea and gazed down the empty river bed with mingled feelings. Gibson tried to picture this scene as it must have appeared in those remote days, when the great reptiles ruled the Earth and Man was still a dream of the distant future. The red cliffs would scarcely have changed in all that time, but between them the river would have
have our first really good look at him. Mac's worked out a very interesting orbit for us. We go rather close to Jupiter-right inside all the satellites-and let his gravitational field swing us round so that we head out in the right direction for Saturn. It'll need rather accurate navigation to give us just the orbit we want, but it can be done." "Then what's holding it up?" "Money, as usual. The trip will last two and a half years and will cost about fifty million. Mars can't afford it-it would
trying to decide what to do next. As soon as he saw Gibson, he gave a chirp of delight and bounded across the room, bringing down a chair as he did so but luckily missing any valuable apparatus. The bevy of biologists regarded this demonstration with some annoyance; presumably it could not be reconciled with their views on Martian psychology. "Well," said Gibson to the leader of the team, when he had disentangled himself from Squeak's clutches. "Have you decided how intelligent he is yet?" The