Erik Seedhouse is a Norwegian aerospace scientist whose ambition has always been to work as an astronaut. After completing his first degree in Sports Science at Northumbria University, the author joined the legendary 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment, the world's most elite airborne regiment. During his time in the "Para's", Erik spent six months in Belize, where he was trained in the art of jungle warfare and conducted several border partols along the Belize-Guatemala border. Later, he spent several months learning the intricacies of desert warfare on the Akamas Range in Cyprus. He made more than 30 jumps from a Hercules C130 aircraft, permored more than 200 abseils from a helicopter, and fired more light anti-tank weapons than he cares to remember!
Upon returning to the comparatively mundane world of academia, the author embarked upon a master's degree studies by winning prize money in 100 km ultradistance running races. Shortly after placing third in the World 100 km Championships in 1992 and setting the North American 100 km record, the author turned to ultradistance triathlon, winning the World Endurance Triathlon Championships in 1995 and 1996. For good measure, he also won the inaugural World Double Ironman Championships in 1995 and the infamous Decatriathlon, the world's longest triathlon - an event requiring competitors to swim 38 km, cycle 1,800 km, and run 422 km. Non-stop!
Returning to academic once again in 1996, Erik pursued his Ph.D. at the German Space Agency's Institute for Space Medicine. While conducting his Ph.D. studies, he still found time to win Ultraman Hawaii and the European Ultraman Championships as well as completing the Race Across America bike race. Due to his success as the world's leading ultradistance triathlete, Erik was featured in dozens of magazines and television interviews. In 1997, GQ magazine nominated him as the "Fittest Man in the World."
In 1999, Erik decided it was time to get a real job. He retired from being a professional triathlete and started his post-doctoral studies at Vancouver's Simon Fraser University School of Kinesiology. In 2005, the author worked as an astronaut training consultant for Bigelow Aerospace in Las Vegas and wrote Tourists in Space, a training manual for spaceflight participant. He is a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society and a member of the Aerospace Medical Association. Recently, he was one of the final 30 candidates of the Canadian Space Agency's Astronaut Recruitment Campaign. Erik currently works as a manned spaceflight consultant, triathlon coach, and author. He is the Training Director for Astronauts for Hire (www.astronautsforhire.org) and plans to travel into space as a paid astronaut.
In addition to being a triathlete, sky-diver, pilot, and author, Erik is an avid scuba-diver and mountaineer and is currently pursuing his goal of climbing the Seven Summits. Interplanetary Outpost is his eigth book. When not writing, he spends as much time as possible in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii and at his real home in Sandefjord, Norway. Erik is owned by three rambunctious cats - Jasper, Mini-Mach, and Lave - who each provided invaluable assistant in writing this book (!).
Louis Friedman of the Planetary Society and Jacques Blamont of CNES (both involved in Mars and Venus balloon projects) are both interviewed, along with Victor Kerzhanovich of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (planetary balloon systems), Julian Nott (balloonist adventurer and Titan balloon enthusiast), Ralph Lorenz (John Hopkins University's Applied Physics Lab, team member of the proposed Montgolfier balloon on NASA's flagship mission to Titan), Lockheed Martin's Ben Clark (early atmospheric probe designer), Joe Palaia (UAV tests to Devon Island, Canadian Arctic), Joel Levine, Langley Research Center's principal investigator for the Mars ARES (Aerial Regional Environmental Survey), and Andrew Ingersoll, planetary atmospheres expert at California Institute of Technology, among others.
Until around ten years ago, the only planets that we knew about were within the Solar System. The first genuine planet beyond the confines of the Solar System was discovered only 1988. Since then another 350 or so exoplanets have been detected by various methods, and most of these haven been found in the last ten years. Although many more exoplanets discoveries may be expected to occur even as this book is being read, a large enough data set is now available to form the basis for an informed general account of exoplanets.
The topic hence is an extremely "hot" one - all the more so because the recently launched Kepler spacecraft should soon start uncovering many more exoplanets, some perhaps comparable with the Earth (and therefore possibly alternative homes for mankind, if we could ever reach them). Exoplanets: Finding, Exploring, and Understanding Alien Life gives a comprehensive, balances, and above all accurate account of exoplanets.
The Twenty-first Century in Space, the sixth book in the series, explores how the fledgling partnership between the United States and Russia in the 1990s gradually bore fruit and laid the groundwork for today’s International Space Station. The narrative follows the convergence of the Shuttle and Mir programs, together with standalone missions, including servicing the Hubble Space Telescope, many of whose technical and human lessons enabled the first efforts to build the ISS in orbit. The book also looks to the future of developments in the 21st century.
Until China successfully launched taikonauts into orbit, China’s space program had attracted little international attention. The book opens with an analysis of the short fifteen-year history of the China National Space Administration and its long list of accomplishments. Chapter 2 assesses Sino-U.S. technological and commercial interests in space and their implications in fuelling a potential space race. The national security objectives of the U.S. and China are examined, showing how their intentions are increasingly leading to the military integration of space technologies. Chapter 3 describes China’s anxieties about U.S. space power, its obsession with national prestige, and how manned spaceflight is viewed as a crucial element to sustain the legitimacy of the Communist Party. China is currently focusing on similar goals to those of NASA’s Constellation Program - lunar and Mars exploration. The following chapter examines the ambitious plans of both nations, and evaluates whether China’s bold goal of landing taikonauts on the Moon by 2020 is matched by the necessary capability.
In Chapter 5 Dr Seedhouse describes the space hardware being developed by the U.S. and China and the strides taken by China in its attempt to match the technological capability of the U.S. The following chapter provides an overview of China’s introductory manned spaceflights and shows how, despite a lack of experience, the Chinese may soon be in a position to challenge the U.S. in a race to the Moon. In Chapter 7, the author discusses how China’s manned space program can boost the country’s international prestige and also examines the notion of manned spaceflight as a risky way to boost national status and the potential implications of a disaster akin to Challenger and Columbia.
Chapter 8 addresses the questions of alliances and cooperation between NASA and ESA and China and Russia, or, alternatively, the U.S. and China pursuing their space ambitions alone. The implications of each way forward in the context of a looming competition in space are considered. Chapter 9 discusses the repercussions of a Chinese space program overtaking NASA and whether the U.S. has the political will to advance its own space program to prevent its position as sole space superpower being usurped. Given the mutual suspicions existing in both countries, it is perhaps inevitable that Washington and Beijing are on a collision course in space. The final chapter describes the implications of such a confrontation and discusses what, if anything, can be done to avert a new space race.
The first section provides the background to sending a human mission to Mars. Analogies are made with early polar exploration and the expeditions of Shackleton, Amundsen, and Mawson. The interplanetary plans of the European Space Agency, NASA, and Russia are examined, including the possibility of one or more nations joining forces to send humans to Mars. Current mission architectures, such as NASA’s Constellation, ESA’s Aurora, and Ross Tierney’s DIRECT, are described and evaluated.
The next section looks at how humans will get to the Red Planet, beginning with the preparation of the crew. The author examines the various analogues to understand the problems Mars-bound astronauts will face. Additional chapters describe the transportation hardware necessary to launch 4-6 astronauts on an interplanetary trajectory to Mars, including the cutting edge engineering and design of life support systems required to protect crews for more than a year from the lethal radiation encountered in deep space. NASA’s current plan is to use standard chemical propulsion technology, but eventually Mars crews will take advantage of advanced propulsion concepts, such as the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, ion drives and nuclear propulsion.
The interplanetary options for reaching Mars, as well as the major propulsive maneuvers required and the trajectories and energy requirements for manned and unmanned payloads, are reviewed . Another chapter addresses the daunting medical problems and available countermeasures for humans embarking on a mission to Mars: the insidious effects of radiation on the human body and the deleterious consequences of bone and muscle deconditioning. Crew selection will be considered, bearing in mind the strong possibility that they may not be able to return to Earth. Still another chapter describes the guidance, navigation, and control system architecture, as well as the lander design requirements and crew tasks and responsibilities required to touch down on the Red Planet.
Section 3 looks at the surface mission architectures. Seedhouse describes such problems as radiation, extreme temperatures, and construction challenges that will be encountered by colonists. He examines proposed concepts for transporting cargo and astronauts long distances across the Martian surface using magnetic levitation systems, permanent rail systems, and flying vehicles. In the penultimate chapter of the book, the author explains an adaptable and mobile exploration architecture that will enable long-term human exploration of Mars, perhaps making it the next space-based tourist location.
From planets and stars to black holes and the Big Bang, take a journey through the wonders of the universe. Featuring topics from the Copernican Revolution to the mind-boggling theories of recent science, The Astronomy Book uses flowcharts, graphics, and illustrations to help clarify hard-to-grasp concepts and explain almost 100 big astronomical ideas. Covering the biographies of key astronomers through the ages such as Ptolemy, Galileo, Newton, Hubble, and Hawking, The Astronomy Book details their theories and discoveries in a user-friendly format to make the information accessible and easy to follow.