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Beyond: Visions Of The Interplanetary Probes Hardcover – October 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0810945319 ISBN-10: 0810945312

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810945312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810945319
  • Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 11.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Space-age prophet Arthur C. Clarke, one of three eloquent, forward-looking contributors to this pioneering and magnificent collection of pictures generated by the robotic space probes Galileo, Voyager, Pathfinder, Magellan, Viking, and other less commonly known mechanical explorers, describes these breathtaking images as "some of the greatest landscape pictures ever taken." The recognition that these miraculous images (supremely reproduced) are nothing less than works of art is the impetus for this resplendent volume, and discerning writer and documentary filmmaker Benson did, in fact, serve as the book's curator, searching through tens of thousands of digital images to find the most striking and beautiful scenes of the solar system, many never published before. Each sequence of finely detailed portraits of Earth, the Sun, the Moon, and our sister planets is sublimely exhilarating, particularly those of the volatile Jovian system, blue and serene Neptune, and elegant Saturn, which Benson describes as "cosmic perfection." Not only do Clarke, Benson, and Lawrence Weschler celebrate the ingenious technology of robotic space probes and their, as Weschler writes, "unparalleled ability to convey the sheer beauty and mystery" of the solar system, they also ponder, with great acumen, the metaphysical questions raised by these awesome new visions of the glorious cosmos. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Michael Benson is a filmmaker and journalist. He has written, directed, and/or produced several documentary films. Predictions of Fire (1995) won the Best Documentary Feature Award from the National Film Board of Canada, First Prize at the St. Petersburg International Film Festival, and was an official selection of the Sundance and Berlin film festivals. He has published numerous essays in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The International Herald Tribune, Interview, The Nation, The Village Voice, Sight and Sound, and other European media outlets. Sir Arthur C. Clarke is the greatest living prophet of the space age. Best known for his science fiction novels (2001: A Space Odyssey, Childhood's End), he was awarded a knighthood for "services to literature." Lawrence Weschler is one the leading writers of non-fiction prose in the United States. He was a staff writer at the New Yorker for twenty years, covering the arts and politics. His most recent book was the popular Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonders.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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What makes this book impressive is the quality of the photographs.
Peter
Some of the most impressive images show moons transiting across the faces of Mars and Jupiter.
M. A Michaud
If you see one picture from this book, then you will know what I mean.....
B. A. Wagner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Ross Sackett on November 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
We are used to big glossy books of pretty pictures of celestial objects. This book is more than that, though. Sure, the book is beautifully produced and the pictures are pretty (and yes, they are of celestial objects) but when you look through the pages each planet (major and minor) becomes a world--a real place you could visit. The dunefields and erosional badlands of Mars are especially compelling, along with the odd and unfamiliar grooved terrain of the moons of the outer planets.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By fatbslim on November 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Before I opened up my amazon package yesterday and laid my eyes upon this book, it had been a while since I had held such a well made and beauftifully put together piece. Not having looked at its dimensions before purchasing, I was impressed by the book's size. There are images on almost every page, and they are extremely detailed and vivid. In my experience, this is one of the nicest astrophotography books on the market. A true treasure.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. S. Radford on February 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Mostly, the best images you've ever seen of our solar system companions. I love astronomy books but I've never seen 95% of these large-format images. The detail is astounding. Some would make wonderful artwork if printed for wall display. I never knew what most of the planets looked like at such exquisite detail. Though there aren't too many Earth images, the ones included are just breathtakingly sharp, detailed and, true to life like you never saw before.
In a word, in a class by itself. The best of the best.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. A Michaud on January 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Astronomy and planetary exploration have produced many spectacular pictures, often gathered together in large-format books. Beyond may be the best of them all. Benson has done more than select the most interesting images from the past forty years of solar system exploration, many of them already familiar to space buffs. He has processed those images to produce jaw-dropping pictures, some rising to the level of art. In a few cases, he has combined images to form panoramas spread out over four unfolding pages.
The book begins with the Earth and its Moon, then moves to the Sun and the other planets from Mercury out to Neptune. Some of the most impressive images show moons transiting across the faces of Mars and Jupiter. The book includes a foreword by Arthur C. Clarke. Highly recommended.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Peter on September 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What makes this book impressive is the quality of the photographs. The emphasis is clearly on the photographs, not on the text. The book contains a great amount of extremely detailed photographs of the solar system. Many of them I've never seen before in any book or on internet.

In selecting the photographs, the author did not aim at covering all objects of the solar system. For example, of Saturnus only the rings are shown, albeit very extensively. Uranus (including its moons Ariel and Miranda) is shown by only five photographs. Neptunus and its moon Triton is covered by eleven photographs. Pluto is not represented at all, because detailed photographs are not available.

The most extensive chapters cover Mars and Jupiter. With Mars the emphasis is on photographs that are taken by the many orbiting spacecraft that visited this planet (Viking Orbiter, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey). A few nice photographs of the tiny moons Phobos and Deimos and two photographs taken on the surface of Mars are also included. The chapter about Jupiter contains very nice photographs of Jupiter itself and the four Galilean moons. Especially Europa and Io are very extensively represented.

Venus is shown by a multitude of very detailed radar scans of Magellan. Mercury is shown by photographs made in the 1974 and 1975 by Mariner 10. The photographs of our own moon are older still, from the various Lunar Orbiters in the years '60. The sun is represented by a set of quite recently taken and very impressive photographs. There is even a chapter about asteroids, with some photographs of Eros (taken by NEAR), Gaspra and Ida, with its satellite Dactyl.

The text in this book is relatively sparse.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd on November 25, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book on the premise that since it had a publication date of 2008, it would have fairly new pictures from the later space probe missions such as Cassini-Huygens and MESSENGER. Unfortunately upon opening the book and skimming through it and checking the copyright date, it does not have any photos later than 2003 in it. I am very disappointed that the publisher would choose to republish a 5 year-old astronomy book without revising it with newer material first. Nevertheless, this book contains a ton of pictures from all the planets in the Solar System taken by Voyager, Galileo, Mariner, Viking, the various circa 2003 Mars probes, Magellan, and an in-transit Cassini probe at Jupiter. If you're looking for the latest pictures circa 2008-2009, you'll be very disappointed by this book. If you just want beautiful pictures of the planets this book has it in spades.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Wimpy on August 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I went looking for a book of photos of the solar system after viewing a fabulous display at the Smithsonian. This book has absolutely gorgeous photos of the solar system. It was exactly what I wanted. However, I tried to be frugal and buy the paperback version. After I gently looked through it, the binding was already falling apart. Buy this product but spring for the hardback version!
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