During the late 1960s, while M.G. Lord was becoming a teenager in Southern California and her mother was dying of cancer, Lord's father disappeared into his work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, building the space probes of the Mariner Mars 69 mission. Remembering her pain at her father's absence, Lord revisits her own youthful, eccentric fascination with science and space exploration as a way of understanding the ethos of rocket science that so captivated her father. Astro Turf is the brilliant result of her journey of discovery. Lord's own love of science fiction becomes a lens through which she views a profound cultural shift in the male-dominated world of space. And in pursuing the cause of her father's absence she stumbles on a hidden guilt, understanding "the anguish his proud silence caused both him and me and how rooted that silence was in the culture of engineering."
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