Romance to Reality - moon & Mars plans | David S. F. Portree | Faculty | Mars Institute - To further the scientific study, exploration, and public understanding of Mars
Mars Institute - To further the scientific study, exploration, and public understanding of Mars.

Romance to Reality: moon & Mars plans

by David S. F. Portree

Apollo SIM Bay FLO HLLV Phobos explorer Earth Hazard suit

It is part of the nature of man to start with romance and build to a reality.
- Ray Bradbury

I retired Romance to Reality on July 8, 2006 in order to apply its content to my print projects.

I launched Romance to Reality in August 1996. By mid-2005, the website included more than 400 summaries of classic, seminal, and illustrative moon & Mars planning documents from the period 1950-2003. The site aimed to educate people about the challenges and opportunities of moon & Mars exploration.

Romance to Reality succeeded beyond my expectations. Tens of thousands of people around the world visited the site. It inspired artists and authors and aided students, filmmakers, scientists, and engineers. It was cited in books, scholarly papers, and NASA publications. Romance to Reality also spun off a NASA-published history (Humans to Mars: 50 Years of Mission Planning, 1950-2000, February 2001), popular-audience magazine articles, and invited talks across the United States.

Thanks to everyone who helped make Romance to Reality a success.

The voyage continues

Romance to Reality is gone, but my efforts to record and share the history of moon & Mars exploration planning continue. I am currently at work on three books.

  • Humans to Mars: A History of Planning for Mars Expeditions & Bases is the expanded and updated second edition of my 2001 NASA book. The Mars Institute Press will publish this new edition. I hope to see it published in 2007.

  • Humans to the Moon: A History of Planning for Lunar Expeditions & Bases constitutes a lunar counterpart to Humans to Mars. This book, to be published by NASA, should see print in 2008.

  • Bringing Home a Piece of Mars focuses on the history of plans for Mars Sample Return (MSR) missions. MSR, first proposed in 1967, is the most complex and ambitious robotic Mars exploration mission and an essential step toward humans on Mars. Springer-Praxis plans to publish this book in 2009.

While you await these books, please visit my homepage, where you will find excerpts from Romance to Reality, two chapters from the 2001 edition of Humans to Mars, my 1997 article "The New Martian Chronicles," encyclopedia articles on the Soviet lunar program and Mars bases, and much else besides.

Lowell crater Antarctica piloted flyby assembly John Young DRM 3.0

The story of the dreams and the unbuilt spaceships for flights to Mars should be recorded so that in the future people can examine past ideas of space travel just as we can examine the unconsummated ideas of Leonardo da Vinci by reading his notebooks. Years from now people should be able to decide for themselves whether they want to go to Mars or if they prefer to stay earthbound. But let us not destroy the dream, simply because we do not wish to pursue it ourselves.
- Edward Ezell, NASA Historian (1979)


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