In this gritty and scientifically accurate science fiction adventure from New York Times bestselling author Ben Bova and NASA space scientist Les Johnson, the first human mission to Mars meets with near-disaster when a meteoroid strikes the spacecraft, almost destroying it! Too far from Earth to simply turn around and return home, the eight-person crew must ride their crippled ship to Mars while they desperately struggle to survive. On Earth, powerful political forces that oppose human spaceflight try to use the accident as proof that sending humans into space is too dangerous to continue. The whole human space flight program hangs in the balance. And if the astronauts can't nurse their ship to Mars and back, the voyagers will become either the first Martian colonists - or the first humans to perish on another planet!