MarsX: The First Manned Spacecraft to Mars
by Michael G. Hunter

"The steady roar of the engines and the vibrant shudder of the craft, our adrenaline flow, and rapid heartbeats lifted us to the stratosphere in minutes."

Rapidly developed and funded by billionaires, the first manned mission to Mars takes off in 2027. After going through thousands of possible candidates for astronauts, the three selected for the trip are known as Sister Margie, Sister Marsha, and Brother Mark, all in their sixties. The launch goes better than expected, and at the beginning of the estimated sixty-day journey, the astronauts have nothing more to fight than their boredom. However, they soon learn how deadly meteors can be in space. Sister Marsha is hit by a meteor that breaches the craft and is put into a coma. In addition, most of the astronauts’ supplies are destroyed. Limiting their consumption of vital supplies and all their movements, the crew miraculously arrives on Mars. However, they aren’t alone.

Hunter’s fascination with his subject is evident, and he offers several ideas and theories about Mars, possible life there, and how a manned mission to the red planet might be achieved. He uses his fictional mission as the framework to express many of his thoughts on the subject. His ideas are interesting. However, the story and character development take a back seat in some ways to the scientific speculation. Readers who gravitate to science fiction primarily for theories about space and human-crewed missions to other planets will find many engaging ideas on which to meditate on in the author’s work. Hunter’s science fiction saga seems well-suited to those readers who wish to speculate on the undiscovered truths waiting to be unearthed in space.

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