Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

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“Fascinating . . . memorable . . . revealing . . . perhaps the best of Carl Sagan’s books.”—The Washington Post Book World (front page review)

In Cosmos, the late astronomer Carl Sagan cast his gaze over the magnificent mystery of the Universe and made it accessible to millions of people around the world. Now in this stunning sequel, Carl Sagan completes his revolutionary journey through space and time.

Future generations will look back on our epoch as the time when the human race finally broke into a radically new frontier—space. In Pale Blue Dot, Sagan traces the spellbinding history of our launch into the cosmos and assesses the future that looms before us as we move out into our own solar system and on to distant galaxies beyond. The exploration and eventual settlement of other worlds is neither a fantasy nor luxury, insists Sagan, but rather a necessary condition for the survival of the human race.

“Takes readers far beyond Cosmos . . . Sagan sees humanity’s future in the stars.”—Chicago Tribune
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About the author

Carl Sagan served as the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking, Voyager, and Galileo spacecraft expeditions, for which he received the NASA Medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and (twice) for Distinguished Public Service.
 
His Emmy- and Peabody–winning television series, Cosmos, became the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. The accompanying book, also called Cosmos, is one of the bestselling science books ever published in the English language. Dr. Sagan received the Pulitzer Prize, the Oersted Medal, and many other awards—including twenty honorary degrees from American colleges and universities—for his contributions to science, literature, education, and the preservation of the environment. In their posthumous award to Dr. Sagan of their highest honor, the National Science Foundation declared that his “research transformed planetary science . . . his gifts to mankind were infinite." Dr. Sagan died on December 20, 1996.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Ballantine Books
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Published on
Jul 6, 2011
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9780307801012
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Cosmology
Science / Physics / Astrophysics
Science / Reference
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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There's a whole universe out there ... and this book is your journey into space.

Imagine you had a spacecraft capable of travelling through interstellar space. You climb in, blast into orbit, fly out of the solar system and keep going. Where do you end up, and what do you see along the way?

The answer is: mostly nothing. Space is astonishingly, mind-blowingly empty. As you travel through the void between galaxies your spaceship encounters nothing more exciting than the odd hydrogen molecule. But when it does come across something more exotic: wow!

First and most obviously, stars and planets. Some are familiar from our own backyard: yellow suns, rocky planets like Mars, gas and ice giants like Jupiter and Neptune. But there are many more: giant stars, red and white dwarfs, super-earths and hot Jupiters.

Elsewhere are swirling clouds of dust giving birth to stars, and infinitely dense regions of space-time called black holes. These clump together in the star clusters we call galaxies, and the clusters of galaxies we call... galaxy clusters.

And that is just the start. As we travel further we encounter ever more weird, wonderful and dangerous entities: supernovas, supermassive black holes, quasars, pulsars, neutron stars, black dwarfs, quark stars, gamma ray bursts and cosmic strings.

A Journey Through The Universe is a grand tour of the most amazing celestial objects and how they fit together to build the cosmos.

As for the end of the journey - nobody knows. But getting there will be fun.

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.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In the final book of his astonishing career, Carl Sagan brilliantly examines the burning questions of our lives, our world, and the universe around us.

These luminous, entertaining essays travel both the vastness of the cosmos and the intimacy of the human mind, posing such fascinating questions as how did the universe originate and how will it end, and how can we meld science and compassion to meet the challenges of the coming century? Here, too, is a rare, private glimpse of Sagan’s thoughts about love, death, and God as he struggled with fatal disease.

Ever forward-looking and vibrant with the sparkle of his unquenchable curiosity, Billions & Billions is a testament to one of the great scientific minds of our day.

Praise for Billions & Billions

“[Sagan’s] writing brims with optimism, clarity and compassion.”—Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

“Sagan used the spotlight of his fame to illuminate the abyss into which stupidity, greed, and the lust for power may yet dump us. All of those interests and causes are handsomely represented in Billions & Billions.”—The Washington Post Book World

“Astronomer Carl Sagan didn’t live to see the millennium, but he probably has done more than any other popular scientist to prepare us for its arrival.”—Atlanta Journal & Constitution

“Billions & Billions can be interpreted as the Silent Spring for the current generation. . . . Human history includes a number of leaders with great minds who gave us theories about our universe and origins that ran contrary to religious dogma. Galileo determined that the Earth revolved around the Sun, not the other way around. Darwin challenged Creationism with his Evolution of Species. And now, Sagan has given the world its latest challenge: Billions & Billions.”—San Antonio Express-News

“[Sagan’s] inspiration and boundless curiosity live on in the gift of his work.”—Seattle Times & Post-Intelligencer

“Couldn’t stay awake in your high school science classes? This book can help fill in the holes. Acclaimed scientist Carl Sagan combines his logic and knowledge with wit and humor to make a potentially dry subject enjoyable to read.”—The Dallas Morning News
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