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Back to the Moon Hardcover – December 7, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439134057
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439134054
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,829,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Travis S. Taylor—“Doc” Taylor to his friends—has earned his soubriquet the hard way:  He has a doctorate in optical science and engineering, a master's degree in physics, a master's degree in aerospace engineering, a master's degree in astronomy, and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. Dr. Taylor has worked on various programs for the Department of Defense and NASA for the past sixteen years.  He's currently working on several advanced propulsion concepts, very large space telescopes, space-based beamed energy systems, and next generation space launch concepts. He has appeared in several episodes of the History Channel’s Universe series. He lives in Auburn, AL with his wife Karen and their daughter.

 

Les Johnson is a NASA physicist, manager, author, husband and father.  By day, he serves as the Deputy Manager for the Advanced Concepts Office at the NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, one of the coolest jobs in the universe.  In the early 2000s, he was NASA’s Manager for Interstellar Propulsion Research and later managed the In-Space Propulsion Technology Project. He was technical consultant for the movie Lost in Space and has appeared on the Discovery Channel series, “Physics of the Impossible” in the “How to Build a Starship” episode. He has also appeared in three episodes of the Science Channel series, Exodus Earth. In his spare time he writes popular science books and articles, including Solar Sails: A Novel approach to Interplanetary Travel, Living Off the Land in Space: Green Roads to the Cosmos and Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth.

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Customer Reviews

The book was well written, allowing character introductions to happen as the characters would have good reason for their actions.
D. Spinella
It's more like a techo-thriller due to the great attention to accuracy of the science and technology with minimal extrapolation into the near future.
Amazon Customer
Highly recommended for Taylor & Johnson fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of Moon flights, engineering improvisations, and personal courage.
Arthur W. Jordin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have been a great fan of both Les Johnson and Travis Taylor for many years, and eagerly anticipated this collaboration. I was not dissapointed. Except for recent political decisions, this novel, Back to the Moon, would almost not qualify as science fiction. It's more like a techo-thriller due to the great attention to accuracy of the science and technology with minimal extrapolation into the near future. Dr. Taylor addresses this irony in the afterward, where he describes how woefully underfunded NASA has become, but even so could still have achieved much more if the politicians hadn't kept moving the goal posts every 4 to 8 years. The afterward is practically a pro-space manifesto, and the entire work gets my highest recommendation to anyone interested in space exploration. And it is a great entertaining read, as well.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Back to the Moon" by Travis S. Taylor and Les Johnson does for near future space travel what Tom Clancy's novels used to do for near future war and terrorism. Too bad the near future the book describes has been jettisoned by President Obama.

"Back to the Moon" is set about eight to ten years in the future and concerns events surrounding NASA's planned return to the Moon. The book is filled with technical detail about how the Ares/Orion/Altair system would have worked, beginning with an unmanned shakedown mission to test the new Moon ship's systems.

In the meantime, a private space entrepreneur has sold enough seats on his new space craft, Dreamcscape, to fly a loop around the Moon on the vacation trip of the lifetime.
Finally, the Chinese are mounting their own lunar expedition, sending their own unmanned lunar lander on a shakedown mission.

When the Dreamscape, with its passenger list of the well heeled and adventurous passes behind the Moon, the commercial cruise ship picks up a low power signal from what is apparently a crew of Chinese space explorers, having crash landed on the Moon. The "unmanned shakedown mission" was in fact a Chinese attempt to steal away the glory from America to land the first people on the Moon in almost fifty years.

So the first American expedition to the Moon since 1972 becomes a rescue mission. Here the novel hits its stride, with enough death defying situations and potentially life ending technical "anomalies" (to coin the NASA term) to--well--fill a good two hour action film directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on November 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Back to the Moon (2010) is a standalone SF novel. It is set in a near future when America and China are racing to the Moon. The civilian sector also is interested in Moon flights.

In this novel, Bill Stetson is a NASA astronaut slated to be mission commander on the first mission back to the Moon.

Paul Gesling is a retired Navy pilot and the chief pilot for Space Excursions. He will pilot the Dreamscape on the first commercial voyage around the Moon.

Gary Childers is the founder and chief salesman of Space Excursions. As a very wealthy man, Childers used the money he made in coal to make his childhood dreams come true. His company is planning to take very wealthy civilians around the Moon and back.

In this story, Bill is Flight Controller on the Blue Team during the test run of the automated moon flight. Something goes wrong on the mating of the Orion crew vessel with the Earth Departure Stage and Bill takes remote control of the Orion. After successfully mating the Orion to the EDS, analysis of the flight telemetry indicates that a circuit board might have been defective.

Afterward, the test run flies itself to the Moon, sends the lander down to the surface and then brings the ascent stage back to the Orion. Mission Control loses telemetry from the ascent stage, but it never losses the link with the Orion. It successfully docks with the Orion and the assemblage returns to Earth.

The communication problems seriously bother the NASA engineers. Both failures could have been caused by one type of circuit board widely used in space vehicles and elsewhere. These boards are made in China.

Meanwhile, Space Excursions is having problems of its own.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Cripe on July 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me state right up front that I've read almost every sci-fi novel 'Doc' Travis has written and the ones I haven't yet are in my stack of books to read. That said, at first I thought this would be something different from him, and I was right. And wrong. :)

I thought this would be little more than a thinly veiled attempt to boost interest in NASA's manned space program, and in a way, it is that. But it is also a damned good read, a science and suspense packed thriller. I won't go into the details or plot of the book, others have done that, and I don't want to spoil the book for you.

If you have an interest in space travel, if you ever dreamt of going up in spaceship as a kid, or an adult, read this book.

I'm wondering how much of some of the details of this book were made up, and how many were carefully 'sanitized' stories of what goes on behind the scenes at NASA? And like other reviewers have stated, the Afterword is direct and to the point. I hadn't realized just how small of a shoestring budget NASA has to work with until now. That needs to change. Humanity needs to get off this one, small mudball and get out into space.
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