Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Choice, Not Fate: Shaping a Sustainable Future in the Space Age Paperback – December 14, 2009
2016 Book Awards
Browse award-winning titles. See all 2016 winners
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From the Back Cover
In this important book, space policy specialist Jim Vedda argues for the necessity of formulating long-term goals for space exploration through a rigorous process and then pursuing them over a decade or more. He appropriately concludes that social and cultural perspectives, and the institutions that support them, are focused almost exclusively on short-term ends usually designed to resolve a crisis. In the space exploration world this is a powerful stricture for an endeavor that requires generations of effort. Vedda's analysis of this problem and his recommendations for resolution in Choice, Not Fate are most welcome. - Dr. Roger Launius, senior curator of space history, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
Jim Vedda's analysis of space-related issues is thoroughly researched and thought-provoking. He clearly understands the mix of social, political, and fiscal realities that drive technology, and the need for immediate, long-term action. Vedda's insights are essential reading for anyone who knows, or wants to understand, the importance of space-related science, technology, and policy. His ability to explore and explain complex issues in a highly readable fashion further enhances the value of this work. - Dr. David C. Webb, space consultant, educator, and former member of President Ronald Reagan's National Commission on Space
About the Author
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 70%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more
Top Customer Reviews
The Earth is an open, not closed, system. For example, massive quantities of energy from the Sun sweep by us every second - the technology for capturing significant amounts of this energy in orbiting collectors and beaming it to Earth exists but requires focused investments in the needed engineering and demonstration of the concepts. However, a space project of this magnitude requires long-term planning and investment typically not supported by today's government and industry decision-makers.
Other options for the long-term future include moving manufacturing operations to space, mining minerals from extraterrestrial bodies (an answer to China having bought 98% of the Earth's rare-earth element sources?), and exploiting the microgravity and vacuum environments of space to make materials and medicines that cannot be produced on Earth.
Dr. Vedda's book provides an excellent history of space developments to date and clearly explains why rationales that justified the Apollo program (e.g., enhancing national prestige and creating secondary technological spinoffs) no longer apply in the present. He argues that there are compelling reasons to strengthen societal incentives for long-term thinking, planning, and economic commitments so we can start thinking seriously about where we want to be by mid-century. This book is recommended to anyone who is concerned about our nation's and planet's future.
In short - read this book.
The book is beautifully written, easily understood by anyone with a working knowledge of the English language. It manages to be both an enlightening primer and an advanced technological assessment - a rare feat, indeed.
James A. Vedda (or Jim, as we all knew him) was an associate professor of Space Studies at the University of North Dakota, located in Grand Forks. I obtained an M.S. (Master of Science) degree in that program, and I had Jim Vedda as a teacher in three courses. This was before he earned his Ph.D., and back then, he did his homework before teaching a class, as he equally did in writing this book. It is well researched and thought out, and in this review, I will add my views as well.
First and foremost, this book is not about space technology, nor is it a timeline of our progress in space, and where we will be at a certain times. It is not a prediction of the future.
No, this book covers space, past and present, in a way of which the events of the time guided it, and those who made the decisions to do what they did, from Apollo to the International Space Station (ISS). In making these decisions, being the government, the government itself is discussed in a way of how they think when making a decision to fund NASA for a certain projects, why they would approve or disapprove of it. Mostly, what is discussed is how the government itself works. For example, in discussing the government bureaucracy (and I myself have worked in it, at the Census Bureau), one would think that it is all bad, wastes money, and gets nothing done.Read more ›
This is not to say that Hickman and Vedda are just saying the same things or that the final recommendations are the same, but that both of them are not happy-trails rants from geeks who think getting humans working profitably in Space is as simple as better marketing, more letters to congress or getting the right person in the Oval Office.
Both 'Choice...' and 'Reopening...' give historical perspective on the workings and dysfunctions of our government not only in Space but in any major-money task and are quick to point out with pretty good effect the problems Big Picture endeavors truly face.
Dr. Vedda takes a bit more time in his presentation than Mr. Hickman and it seems fitting to me that his major point is that "Things Take Time". It's not a point that many of us want to hear, but since we've not gone very far in the past decades it seems to hold up. Those of us who have personal recollection of the "glory days" close to Apollo are now grey and thinking that one big push is really all it takes (and Hickman believes that that is probably the way things will end up happening... but only as a reaction to an outside force), but this book urges understanding of the true need being a push for our leaders to get around to Long Term Thinking in general rather than the Space Stunting which just gets us another two steps forward followed by decades or longer stuck one step back.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For me, M. Vedda's book is somewhat the grown-up version of the famous Von Braun / Disney / Collier's series "Man will conquer space, soon" articles from the 1950s and 60s. Read morePublished on July 11, 2012 by Arnaud Lécuyot
For nearly forty years a vast omniumgatherum took seriously what it meant to be a good citizen of the space faring age. Read morePublished on November 21, 2011 by J. Rawley