Ben Bova and Les Johnson
Baen, Jun 3 2014, $25.00
A Chinese unmanned vessel shakes up the world when it finds organic material on Mars. Scientists from several nations persuade their leaders to support a manned mission to Mars in which the Americans fund the Russians to build a nuclear powered ship. As one of a seemingly zillion political compromises Canadian Benson Benson is named Commander of the Arrow. The rest of the flying team consists of American mission pilot Ted Connover, Japanese psychologist Dr. Taki Nomura, French geologist Catherine Clermont, American geologist Hiram McPherson, American communications specialist Virginia Gonzalez, American biologist Amanda Lynn and Russian meteorologist Mikhail Prokhorov. Also “flying” virtually is American reporter Steven Treadway who will interview the crew during the trip.
Problems occur in the final days before liftoff, but NASA scientists with cooperation from their participating peers manage to correct all of the equipment issues. The astronauts have problems also, but the octet accept mission first. However, far from earth, a tiny meteorite slams into the ship with such velocity as to cause terrible damage. While the crippled Arrow continues to Mars as the team agrees that is their best chance to survive, politicians back home insist this proves the danger and cost of space is too great.
Taking place twenty years into the future, Rescue Mode is a super timely science fiction thriller that will remind readers of Apollo 13, but with a deep focus on the science to get to Mars and political decisions on earth that impact the mission before and during flight. Filled with action especially after the rock hammers the Arrow, fans will appreciate this strong entry as the naysayers back on earth use the accident as a reason to end space travel.