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Seeking to reenergize Americans' passion for the space program, the value of further exploration of the Moon, and the importance of human beings on the final frontier, Claude A. Piantadosi presents a rich history of American space exploration and its major achievements. He emphasizes the importance of reclaiming national command of our manned program and continuing our unmanned space missions, and he stresses the many adventures that still await us in the unfolding universe. Acknowledging space exploration's practical and financial obstacles, Piantadosi challenges us to revitalize American leadership in space exploration in order to reap its scientific bounty.

Piantadosi explains why space exploration, a captivating story of ambition, invention, and discovery, is also increasingly difficult and why space experts always seem to disagree. He argues that the future of the space program requires merging the practicalities of exploration with the constraints of human biology. Space science deals with the unknown, and the margin (and budget) for error is small. Lethal near-vacuum conditions, deadly cosmic radiation, microgravity, vast distances, and highly scattered resources remain immense physical problems. To forge ahead, America needs to develop affordable space transportation and flexible exploration strategies based in sound science. Piantadosi closes with suggestions for accomplishing these goals, combining his healthy skepticism as a scientist with an unshakable belief in space's untapped—and wholly worthwhile—potential.

‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are ...’ Are you a giant Nazi iceberg? On 4 October 1957, the Soviet Union’s famous satellite Sputnik was launched into orbit, and the Space Age began. Or did it? Sputnik may have marked the beginning of humanity’s physical exploration of the universe, but we had already been exploring it with our minds for thousands of years, often with some very surprising results. To mark the sixtieth anniversary of Sputnik’s launch (and seventy years since the first flying saucer sighting, in 1947), S. D. Tucker seeks out the strangest, most surprising and downright silliest ideas about outer space that have arisen throughout history. Human beings have always gazed up at the twinkling stars and wondered what exactly they are; the heavens an inky-black canvas upon which people have projected their fantasies and those of the societies they lived in. From tales of crumbling canals and lost civilisations on Mars to the mind-boggling proposal that flying saucers were piloted by alien bees with jewels for eyes, mankind has gone down a lot of blind alleys before finally finding the scientific answers that were needed to initiate the blast-off that took us up to the moon in 1969. This entertaining and revealing book explores stories of the stars invented before Sputnik, the Space Age or modern science were even a glimmer in the eye of mankind, and goes on to consider the odd and tenuous theories about space that still exist to this day. Whether you’re intrigued by the notion of living planets singing and having sex with one another, the universe’s secret roof, or the moon’s hidden finger, Space Oddities will offer you a close-up telescopic view of the weird and wonderful world that people throughout history have imagined lies beyond the stars.
In the vein of Randall Munroe's What If? meets Brian Green's Elegant Universe, a senior writer from Space.com leads readers on a wild ride of exploration into the final frontier, investigating what's really "out there."
We've all asked ourselves the question. It's impossible to look up at the stars and NOT think about it: Are we alone in the universe? Books, movies and television shows proliferate that attempt to answer this question and explore it. In OUT THERE Space.com senior writer Dr. Michael Wall treats that question as merely the beginning, touching off a wild ride of exploration into the final frontier. He considers, for instance, the myriad of questions that would arise once we do discover life beyond Earth (an eventuality which, top NASA officials told Wall, is only drawing closer).
What would the first aliens we meet look like? Would they be little green men or mere microbes? Would they be found on a planet in our own solar system or orbiting a star far, far away? Would they intend to harm us, and if so, how might they do it? And might they already have visited?
OUT THERE is arranged in a simple question-and-answer format. The answers are delivered in Dr. Wall's informal but informative style, which mixes in a healthy dose of humor and pop culture to make big ideas easier to swallow. Dr. Wall covers questions far beyond alien life, venturing into astronomy, physics, and the practical realities of what long-term life might be like for we mere humans in outer space, such as the idea of lunar colonies, and even economic implications. Dr. Wall also shares the insights of some of the leading lights in space exploration today, and shows how the next space age might be brighter than ever.
For centuries humankind has fantasized about life on Mars, whether it’s intelligent Martian life invading our planet (immortalized in H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds) or humanity colonizing Mars (the late Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles). The Red Planet’s proximity and likeness to Earth make it a magnet for our collective imagination. Yet the question of whether life exists on Mars—or has ever existed there—remains an open one. Science has not caught up to science fiction—at least not yet.

This summer we will be one step closer to finding the answer. On August 5th, Curiosity—a one-ton, Mini Cooper-sized nuclear-powered rover—is scheduled to land on Mars, with the primary mission of determining whether the red planet has ever been physically capable of supporting life. In Getting to Mars, Roger Wiens, the principal investigator for the ChemCam instrument on the rover—the main tool for measuring Mars’s past habitability—will tell the unlikely story of the development of this payload and rover now blasting towards a planet 354 million miles from Earth.

ChemCam (short for Chemistry and Camera) is an instrument onboard the Curiosity designed to vaporize and measure the chemical makeup of Martian rocks. Different elements give off uniquely colored light when zapped with a laser; the light is then read by the instrument’s spectrometer and identified. The idea is to use ChemCam to detect life-supporting elements such as carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen to evaluate whether conditions on Mars have ever been favorable for microbial life.

This is not only an inside story about sending fantastic lasers to Mars, however. It’s the story of a new era in space exploration. Starting with NASA’s introduction of the Discovery Program in 1992, smaller, scrappier, more nimble missions won out as behemoth manned projects went extinct. This strategic shift presented huge opportunities—but also presented huge risks for shutdown and failure. And as Wiens recounts, his project came close to being closed down on numerous occasions. Getting to Mars is the inspiring account of how Wiens and his team overcame incredible challenges—logistical, financial, and political—to successfully launch a rover in an effort to answer the eternal question: is there life on Mars?
Called "spellbinding" (Scientific American) and "thrilling...a future classic of popular science" (PW), the up close, inside story of the greatest space exploration project of our time, New Horizons’ mission to Pluto, as shared with David Grinspoon by mission leader Alan Stern and other key players.

On July 14, 2015, something amazing happened. More than 3 billion miles from Earth, a small NASA spacecraft called New Horizons screamed past Pluto at more than 32,000 miles per hour, focusing its instruments on the long mysterious icy worlds of the Pluto system, and then, just as quickly, continued on its journey out into the beyond.

Nothing like this has occurred in a generation—a raw exploration of new worlds unparalleled since NASA’s Voyager missions to Uranus and Neptune—and nothing quite like it is planned to happen ever again. The photos that New Horizons sent back to Earth graced the front pages of newspapers on all 7 continents, and NASA’s website for the mission received more than 2 billion hits in the days surrounding the flyby. At a time when so many think that our most historic achievements are in the past, the most distant planetary exploration ever attempted not only succeeded in 2015 but made history and captured the world’s imagination.

How did this happen? Chasing New Horizons is the story of the men and women behind this amazing mission: of their decades-long commitment and persistence; of the political fights within and outside of NASA; of the sheer human ingenuity it took to design, build, and fly the mission; and of the plans for New Horizons’ next encounter, 1 billion miles past Pluto in 2019. Told from the insider’s perspective of mission leader Dr. Alan Stern and others on New Horizons, and including two stunning 16-page full-color inserts of images, Chasing New Horizons is a riveting account of scientific discovery, and of how much we humans can achieve when people focused on a dream work together toward their incredible goal.

The United States possesses a treasure-trove of extraterrestrial samples that were returned to Earth via space missions over the past four decades. Analyses of these previously returned samples have led to major breakthroughs in the understanding of the age, composition, and origin of the solar system. Having the instrumentation, facilities and qualified personnel to undertake analyses of returned samples, especially from missions that take up to a decade or longer from launch to return, is thus of paramount importance if the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is to capitalize fully on the investment made in these missions, and to achieve the full scientific impact afforded by these extraordinary samples. Planetary science may be entering a new golden era of extraterrestrial sample return; now is the time to assess how prepared the scientific community is to take advantage of these opportunities.

Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis assesses the current capabilities within the planetary science community for sample return analyses and curation, and what capabilities are currently missing that will be needed for future sample return missions. This report evaluates whether current laboratory support infrastructure and NASA’s investment strategy is adequate to meet these analytical challenges and advises how the community can keep abreast of evolving and new techniques in order to stay at the forefront of extraterrestrial sample analysis.

“Expansive and enlightening. . . . Impey packs his prose with wonderful anecdotes and weird factoids.”—New York Times Book Review

Human exploration has been an unceasing engine of technological progress, from the first homo sapiens to leave our African cradle to a future in which mankind promises to settle another world. Beyond tells the epic story of humanity leaving home—and how humans will soon thrive in the vast universe beyond the earth.

A dazzling and propulsive voyage through space and time, Beyond reveals how centuries of space explorers—from the earliest stargazers to today’s cutting-edge researchers—all draw inspiration from an innate human emotion: wanderlust. This urge to explore led us to multiply around the globe, and it can be traced in our DNA.

Today, the urge to discover manifests itself in jaw-dropping ways: plans for space elevators poised to replace rockets at a fraction of the cost; experiments in suspending and reanimating life for ultra-long-distance travel; prototypes for solar sails that coast through space on the momentum of microwaves released from the Earth. With these ventures, private companies and entrepreneurs have the potential to outpace NASA as the leaders in a new space race.

Combining expert knowledge of astronomy and avant-garde technology, Chris Impey guides us through the heady possibilities for the next century of exploration. In twenty years, a vibrant commercial space industry will be operating. In thirty years, there will be small but viable colonies on the Moon and Mars. In fifty years, mining technology will have advanced enough to harvest resources from asteroids. In a hundred years, a cohort of humans born off-Earth will come of age without ever visiting humanity’s home planet. This is not the stuff of science fiction but rather the logical extension of already available technologies.

Beyond shows that space exploration is not just the domain of technocrats, but the birthright of everyone and the destiny of generations to come. To continue exploration is to ensure our survival. Outer space, a limitless unknown, awaits us.

If you have ever wondered about space travel, now you have the opportunity to understand it more fully than ever before. Traveling into space and even emigrating to nearby worlds may soon become part of the human experience. Scientists, engineers, and investors are working hard to make space tourism and colonization a reality. As astronauts can attest, extraterrestrial travel is incomparably thrilling. To make the most of the experience requires serious physical and mental adaptations in virtually every aspect of life, from eating to intimacy. Everyone who goes into space sees Earth and life on it from a profoundly different perspective than they had before liftoff.

Astronomer and former NASA/ASEE scientist Neil F. Comins has written the go-to book for anyone interested in space exploration. He describes the wonders that travelers will encounter—weightlessness, unparalleled views of Earth and the cosmos, and the opportunity to walk on another world—as well as the dangers: radiation, projectiles, unbreathable atmospheres, and potential equipment failures. He also provides insights into specific trips to destinations including suborbital flights, space stations, the Moon, asteroids, comets, and Mars—the top candidate for colonization. Although many challenges are technical, Comins outlines them in clear language for all readers. He synthesizes key issues and cutting-edge research in astronomy, physics, biology, psychology, and sociology to create a complete manual for the ultimate voyage.

JFK issued the historic moon landing challenge. These are the stories of the visionaries who helped America complete his vision with the first lunar landing fifty years ago.
                                                                                                                                   
A Companion Book to the AMERICAN EXPERIENCE® Film on PBS®

Going in depth to explore their stories beyond the PBS series, writer/producer Robert Stone—called “one of our most important documentary filmmakers” by Entertainment Weekly—brings these important figures to brilliant life.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy proposed the nation spend twenty billion dollars to land a man on the Moon before the end of the decade. Based on eyewitness accounts and newly discovered archival material, Chasing the Moon reveals for the first time the unknown stories of the fascinating individuals whose imaginative work across several decades culminated in America’s momentous achievement. More than a story of engineers and astronauts, the moon landing—now celebrating its fiftieth anniversary—grew out of the dreams of science fiction writers, filmmakers, military geniuses, and rule-breaking scientists. They include

• Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, whose writing inspired some of the key players in the Moon race. A scientific paper he wrote in his twenties led to the U.S. beating Russia in one area of space: communications satellites.
• Wernher von Braun, the former Nazi military genius who oversaw Hitler's rocket weapons program. After working on ballistic missiles for the U.S. Army, he was recruited by NASA to manage the creation of the Saturn V moon rocket.  
• Astronaut Frank Borman, commander of the first mission to circumnavigate the Moon, whose powerful testimony before Congress in 1967 decisively saved the U.S. lunar program from being cancelled.
• Poppy Northcutt, a young mathematician who was the first woman to work in Mission Control. Her media exposure as a unique presence in this all-male world allowed her the freedom to stand up for equal rights for women and minorities.
• Edward Dwight, an African American astronaut candidate, recruited at the urging of the Kennedy White House to further the administration’s civil rights agenda—but not everyone welcomed his inclusion.

Setting these key players in the political, social, and cultural climate of the time, and including captivating photographs throughout, Chasing the Moon focuses on the science and the history, but most important, the extraordinary individuals behind what was undoubtedly the greatest human achievement of the twentieth century.
The story of the search for life on Mars—and the moral issues confronting us as we prepare to send humans there

Does life exist on Mars? The question has captivated humans for centuries, but today it has taken on new urgency. NASA plans to send astronauts to Mars orbit by the 2030s. SpaceX wants to go by 2024, while Mars One wants to land a permanent settlement there in 2032. As we gear up for missions like these, we have a responsibility to think deeply about what kinds of life may already inhabit the planet--and whether we have the right to invite ourselves in. This book tells the complete story of the quest to answer one of the most tantalizing questions in astronomy. But it is more than a history. Life on Mars explains what we need to know before we go.

David Weintraub tells why, of all the celestial bodies in our solar system, Mars has beckoned to us the most. He traces how our ideas about life on Mars have been refined by landers and rovers, terrestrial and Mars-orbiting telescopes, spectroscopy, and even a Martian meteorite. He explores how finding DNA-based life on the Red Planet could offer clues about our distant evolutionary past, and grapples with the profound moral and ethical questions confronting us as we prepare to introduce an unpredictable new life form—ourselves—into the Martian biosphere.

Life on Mars is also a book about how science is done—and undone—in the age of mass media. It shows how Mars mania has obscured our vision since we first turned our sights on the planet and encourages a healthy skepticism toward the media hype surrounding Mars as humanity prepares to venture forth.

Award-winning journalist Stephen Petranek says humans will live on Mars by 2027. Now he makes the case that living on Mars is not just plausible, but inevitable.

It sounds like science fiction, but Stephen Petranek considers it fact: Within twenty years, humans will live on Mars. We’ll need to. In this sweeping, provocative book that mixes business, science, and human reporting, Petranek makes the case that living on Mars is an essential back-up plan for humanity and explains in fascinating detail just how it will happen.

The race is on. Private companies, driven by iconoclastic entrepreneurs, such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Paul Allen, and Sir Richard Branson; Dutch reality show and space mission Mars One; NASA; and the Chinese government are among the many groups competing to plant the first stake on Mars and open the door for human habitation. Why go to Mars? Life on Mars has potential life-saving possibilities for everyone on earth. Depleting water supplies, overwhelming climate change, and a host of other disasters—from terrorist attacks to meteor strikes—all loom large. We must become a space-faring species to survive. We have the technology not only to get humans to Mars, but to convert Mars into another habitable planet. It will likely take 300 years to “terraform” Mars, as the jargon goes, but we can turn it into a veritable second Garden of Eden. And we can live there, in specially designed habitations, within the next twenty years.

In this exciting chronicle, Petranek introduces the circus of lively characters all engaged in a dramatic effort to be the first to settle the Red Planet. How We’ll Live on Mars brings firsthand reporting, interviews with key participants, and extensive research to bear on the question of how we can expect to see life on Mars within the next twenty years.
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