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Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization Paperback – August 7, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-1585420360 ISBN-10: 1585420360 Edition: Reprint
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Humans are not native to the Earth. So posits astronautical engineer Bob Zubrin in the opening of Entering Space. We're native to just a small sliver of it, the spot where our species originated in tropical Kenya. We set out from that paradise about 50,000 years ago, north into "the teeth of the Ice Age," and all the ground we've gained since then has been thanks to our tenacity and our tools.

Zubrin reasons that it's time we cover a little more ground. Written with a boyish enthusiasm and formidable techie know-how, Entering Space urges us to realize "the feasibility, the necessity, and the promise" of becoming a space-faring civilization, of colonizing our own solar system and beyond. And Zubrin, author of the influential and widely acclaimed The Case for Mars, knows his stuff--NASA adapted his plans for near-term human exploration of Mars, and Carl Sagan gave the author no less credit: "Bob Zubrin really, nearly alone, changed our thinking on this issue." Entering Space plots the second and third phases of humanity's course--now that we've mastered our own planet, Zubrin says we must first look to settling our solar system (beginning with Mars) and then to the galaxy beyond.

With its practicable visions of using "iceteroids" to terraform Mars and harnessing the power of the outlying gas giants ("the solar system's Persian Gulf"), Entering Space succeeds at making the fantastic seem attainable, the stuff of science fiction, science fact. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Astronautical engineer Zubrin stirred up more than a few imaginations with his 1996 The Case for Mars, which explained how and why humans could visit the red planet cheaply and soon. Zubrin's confident followup divides its predictions and programs into three sections: the first covers near-term projects in Earth orbit, with a view to commercial possibilities. The second part takes on the Moon, Mars, asteroids and the outer solar system, and the third adopts an optimistic view of interstellar travel and extraterrestrial life. Zubrin's range can amaze: he begins with the Space Shuttle (misguided and inefficient, he argues) and ends with speculation about how humanity might "change the laws of the universe." In between, Zubrin (privy to some of the dealings involved) shows how American politics quashed recent chances of cheap space flight; how "shake-and-bake" processing can profitably mine helium from the Moon; what we can do to defend life on Earth against a real-life Armageddon asteroid; and how a magnetic sail might speed up and slow down a starship. Zubrin's engineering background and his crisp prose make him a confident explainer, as technical as he needs to be but rarely more so. Regular readers of science fiction and anyone else with high school chemistry and physics will understand his arguments about the engines, ships and industries he proposes to create. His gung-ho clarity may even raise suspicions, especially when he moves from physics to metaphysics: Will the species really stagnate unless we become a "Type II" civilization? But anyone who cares about space travel will care about some part of this book. While some will gravitate to the near-term proposals, others will happily escape their pull and reach, with Zubrin, for the stars. Agent, Laurie Fox of the Linda Chester Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; Reprint edition (August 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585420360
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585420360
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on April 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Although less focused than his excellent "The Case for Mars", "Entering Space" is an excellent book. I say less focused because in this work, Zubrin is considering a number of points for colonization (the Moon, Mars, asteroids, other solar systems), and a much broader time horizon. Thus, as one might expect, his "plans" are less thorough than the one outlined in his previous work. That said, they are equally sound at their core, and are rigorously supported through the use of easy to understand physics, chemistry, and even a little biology.
Most importantly, though, "Entering Space" reiterates Zubrin's core argument: that it is an human imperative to explore, and that the failure to do so can only negatively affect our species. Ultimately, he's trying to get people excited about space exploration, to get them thinking about the enormous benefits, rather than the cost, and possible risk.
This is a wonderful, inspiring work that should be read by anyone who's ever dreamed of treading on another planet; and perhaps more so by those who haven't. Enjoy!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Two detractionist notions have been posed since the dawn of spaceflight as to why travel to other planets, and indeed, the great stars that lay beyond--were the stuff of science fiction. A)That such ideas were either impossible or impractical and B)That there is no real reason to go into space when we have problems here on earth.
Robert Zubrin simultaneously destroys both excuses in Entering Space.
In a literary style that is both eloquent yet simple, straight hard science yet common sense, Robert Zubrin lays out an explanation for why the atrophied space program is the way it is, and from there goes on to paint a practical and awe inspiring vision of what humanity could be, and why we should.
Pages are filled with highly detailed tables, diagrams, and equations...yet what he writes is put so easy-to-understand, that you can skip over them entirely. The plan for a space faring civilization is laid out in three steps(Type 1: Planetary, Type 2: Interplanetary, and Type 3: Interstellar). And it cannot be overstated that this is perhaps the most perfect book ever written on the subject, and anyone from astronomers to scientists, to car mechanics will all understand and be inspired by Entering Space.
It can be said that Robert Zubrin is no less than a modern day Wherner Von Braun...although I wouldn't want to give undo credit to Von braun :-)
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Michael Pinto on January 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
Disclaimer: I've been a big fan of space exploration since childhood, so I'm already in the ranks of the converted. I got turned onto Zubrin through his previous book "The Case for Mars" which is one of the most important books on space exploration done in the last twenty years. So I came to this book with a high set of expectations.
Where the Mars book was very specific, this book deals with the big picture. This works well when Zubrin goes into detail, but things fall apart when he is too theoretical. For example he gives a great survey on various potential methods for interstellar travel - but tends to get lost on more subjective topics like "if the aliens are out there".
At heart Zubrin is an engineer, and this is where he shines. Even when he is taking apart previous concepts like L5 space colonies or Dyson spheres he is doing it with care and love. He does get a bit technical, and as I don't have a professional understanding of physics I did have to wonder at points if he was 100% on the level or not. Zubrin also tends to be a bit lost when he is dealing with non-tech topics like economics or politics, but you can excuse this because he is a non-apologetic advocate of his cause.
If you are already into the subject matter this book is a must have addition for your personal library. However this book may be a bit much if you are new to the topic or get turned off by seeing scientific equations. But if you love the stuff like me, then you gotta have it! Now that it's in paperback you can also get a copy or two for your other geek friends.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Rosenberg on May 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
Some of Zubrin's ideas are rather wacky (like the prospect of humans somehow firing up a brown dwarf into a full-fledged star), but for the most part, this book is thought provoking and raises numerous good reasons for mankind to launch itself into space. His argument that we will stagnate if we remain solely on earth is quite convincing, as is his theorizing that our galaxy teems with other civilizations. For the most part, you can skip Zubrin's equations and tables and still enjoy the book.
What really shines through is his passion about humanity's potential. We could do so much, he argues, if we could just get beyond the petty fighting that bogs us down on earth. After reading this book, I'm absolutely convinced that Zubrin is on the right track. He may be an engineer, but his real strength is the ability to transmit clearly and simply the reasons why we can't shut the door to the universe. I haven't read a better book about space exploration since Carl Sagan's Cosmos and Pale Blue Dot.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By The m on October 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Zubrin knows what he is talking about. This book was great! Zubrin leads us from the early space program, through the technology we could build today -- but haven't -- and into the far, far future.
The first 1/3 of the book covers the current state of affairs in space exploration and what we could have done by now, but didn't. This section of the book will make you wish for election day, so you can toss those bums in DC out the airlock.
In the second section (my personal favorite of the three), Zubrin explains how we can explore and exploit the solar system, with great emphasis on the technology thereof.
Finally, Zubrin takes us to the stars, and engages in some really bizzare -- but cool! -- speculation into what technology our distant descendants might use to build new worlds.
Great book, great science. 5 stars!
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