Robert Jesenik-Project Hail Mary

Author of Book: Andy Weir
Date Read: March 7, 2024

Book Report

This NY Times Best Seller was a gift from my brother and sister in law, and came highly recommended. While a novel about space travel and Martians, it has a lot of relevant life lessons we can all be reminded of from time to time.

Its amazing to me the author even came up with such a story intermingled with sophisticated biology and space science. To think there could even be an alternative energy source, far superior to anything here on earth is one thing. For that same “Astrophage” energy to also be a threat to mankind given its impact on the Sun is even more imaginative. Lastly, for a global set of scientists to harness this Astrophage as a fuel source for an astronaut’s mission taking 10 years. traveling toward the sun to attack these astrophage’s in a manner to save the planet and humanity is another! And lastly, to meet another species in space, work together to save their planet as well under extremely stressful scenarios is incredible:)

There are so many takeaways from this book, but a few highlight are:

1. Mankind has the will to set aside its differences and team together to solve problems threatening humanity/civilization
2. Biology as an area of the science world is still misunderstood and irrelevant in the eyes of many
3. The human spirit is willing to sacrifice its life for a cause we believe in, our country, war, even a one way trip into space to save the world
4. Just as technology on earth evolves, someday this evolution will still benefit even more from other materials and life forms not on earth, items we have not yet imagined or discovered
5. In some ways, we have advanced physics and scientific understanding, and its possible other life forms have additional/different understandings, while neither of us have each other’s understandings


Life on the gerbil wheel vs. perspective. That’s my main takeaway how this book will help my success upon release. What do I mean? Sitting in prison is the opposite of the outside world and its gerbil wheel. Outside, all day, everyday, many of us spend time racing around, dealing with problems and solving others, relaxing a few hours if we’re lucky, and then rinse and repeat till the weekend. Come Monday do it all over again!

In prison we have the opposite, no gerbil wheel, and lots of time to read and reflect, should we choose to. This book reminds me there is so much more than a gerbil wheel life to think about,let alone all the problems we read and hear about every day. Project Hail Mary takes us to an even higher perspective, one that reflects beyond our local or even global issues, to space and all the potential and risks we can’t even begin to address or understand.

Having just gone through a 24 lockdown due to inmates fighting/knifing each other over who is first in line to use a pay phone, its a perfect example of why perspective is important. When I think about what I learned in the book, the perspective of aliens and space and their impact on us elevates me way beyond my present situation or other inmates fighting over a phone. I find it interesting to reconcile the thought of Space and other life forms with my faith in God being our Creator, and how to keep all such perspective front and center upon my release, let alone while here!BJ