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384 pages, Paperback
First published August 21, 2018
...many people believe that Project Apollo was popular, probably because it garnered signiﬁcant media attention, but the polls do not support a contention that Americans embraced the lunar landing mission. Consistently throughout the 1960s a majority of Americans did not believe Apollo was worth the cost, with the one exception to this a poll taken at the time of the Apollo 11 lunar landing in July 1969. And consistently throughout the decade 45-60 percent of Americans believed that the government was spending too much on space, indicative of a lack of commitment to the spaceﬂight agenda. These data do not support a contention that most people approved of Apollo and thought it important to explore space.)More overt racism is also introduced in the form of one Valentin De Beer, astronaut from apartheid South Africa (remember the story takes place in the early 1960s—Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for his anti-apartheid activities in 1962, the same year Elma and crew begin their journey to Mars). The Mars crew is diverse. Men, women, two African Americans, a Latino and a Polish American. Why is the racist De Beer on the mission? Kowal chooses the simplest reason, the same reason stupid things happen every day—money. In exchange for funding, South Africa demands he fly, with an all-white crew. The space program short of funds agrees. (In the book, there are three ships making the journey to Mars, two crewed and a unmanned supply ship. De Beer's ship is all white, the second ship—Elma's—is multi-ethnic.)
'“When you got assigned to the Mars mission, there was general consensus that our relationship might cause me to have confused priorities relating to the mission.”
“Clearly they don’t know you.”
“No, they do know me. I would sacrifice everyone on both ships to keep you safe.” He pushed the bra strap to the side, followed it down to the cup, and then dipped inside it to cradle my breast.
“I need you not to make exceptions for me.”
“I try not to, but it’s not actually possible.”'
'“Tell Clemons the this is exactly why we should have put the laundry on the women’s duty roster. If you’re going to send them into space, at least take advantage of their areas of expertise.”
Right. He was an asshole. I closed my NavComp book and slid it back into the slot. “I assume that means I am Go to head back to the kitchen? Where I belong.”
Parker rolled his eyes and toggled off the mic to Mission Control. “It was a joke, York. Lighten up.”
I saluted. “Confirmed lightening up.”'
”I don’t want you stuck on Earth, wishing you were in the stars. That’s no sort of marriage.