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Living Off the Land in Space: Green Roads to the Cosmos [Hardcover]

by Gregory L. Matloff, Les Johnson, C. Bangs
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 6, 2007 0387360549 978-0387360546 2007

This book presents a visionary concept for future development of space travel. It describes the enabling technology for future propulsion concepts and demonstrates how mankind will ‘live off the land in space’ in migration from Earth. For the next few millennia at least (barring breakthroughs), the human frontier will include the solar system and the nearest stars. Will it be better to settle the Moon, Mars, or a nearby asteroid and what environments can we expect to find in the vicinity of nearby stars? These are questions that need to be answered if mankind is to migrate into space.

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Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

"The goal of the book is to provide a realistic view of what might be possible with technologies that are accessible in the near future. A wealth of references at the end of each chapter point the way to further resources. Living Off the Land in Space should satisfy anyone who wants to learn about space colonization and the propulsion methods that will make it happen." (Bernd Henschenmacher,, September, 2007)

"This book is … about ways of powering spaceships to get to other worlds. … the book explores ways of accelerating spaceships using the environments encountered on the journey through space. … The book discusses other means of powering spacecraft, including gravity assists from planetary flybys, ion drives, solar sailing and electromagnetic tethers. … Overall the book is more a review of current or developing techniques … . I found it an enjoyable read and informative." (P L Dyson, Australian Physics, Vol. 45 (1), 2008)

"A sustainable long-term presence in space certainly requires the use of in-space resources with new technologies. This is the subject of the book Living off the Land in Space. Green Roads to the Cosmos. The word Green refers to the use of technologies lessening or eliminating any dependence on Earth, not because they have no impact on Earth’s environment. … I can recommend this book to everyone interested in the future of space exploration. The book is written by a pair of scientists … ." (Claude Semay, Physicalia, Vol. 30 (2), 2008)

From the Back Cover

A number of new space-propulsion technologies- including the solar sail, the solar-electric rocket, solar-thermal propulsion, aerocapture, tethers and advanced chemical propulsion- are becoming operational or are in an advanced state of development. This book draws parallels with the settlement of terrestrial frontiers to investigate how new space propulsion techniques may help future space settlers exploit extraterrestrial resources to establish independence from the Earth.

"Living Off the Land in Space," a collaboration among two space scientists and an artist, is illuminated with many NASA-derived computer-generated images, including drawings, and presents the human (as well as the technological) side of space settlement. It will be an inspiring and indispensible source for those wishing to share in this great adventure.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Copernicus; 2007 edition (July 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387360549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387360546
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #919,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future in Space May 20, 2008
There is a huge amount of science-fiction-like books dealing with aspects of Humankind's future. What is certainly difficult, greatly difficult in some cases, is to describe what the future may look like based on knowledge of the past and awareness of the present. The authors of "Living Off the Land in Space: Green Roads to the Cosmos" are two scientists and one artist, well recognized internationally, who committed themselves to popularizing very, very important aspects of our future: not the future many centuries ahead, which is quite unpredictable on a true scientific basis, but the future that appears reasonable, and desirable, starting from the present and imitating - very probably - what happened along the history of Humankind. Another key feature of the book is represented by the "fusion" of Science, Technology, and Art. Many authors of reliable books describing the future are used to make a considerable harvest from many different scientific areas, but neglect the artistic aspect of the human thought.
This book has a very good logical sequence of the chapters, which includes virtually the most important items at the time of the manuscript completion. Who is really interested in reading a book regarding the evergreen human desire for space exploration and space expansion - the final frontier - not based on fantasy, but on solid cultural basis, can find an excellent overview in this 250-page book.

Rome - Italy, May 20, 2008

Vulpetti Giovanni, PhD.
International Academy of Astronautics, Paris - France
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living off the land in space November 4, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a good book for those interested in the behinds the scenes of space exploration. This book gave enough technical information for background. The authors brought in their experience and first hand knowledge of this on going effort as well as the path forward. This has some of the stuff sci-fi books are based on.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mis-titled and disappointing December 27, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Despite the claims of the title and sub title, this book does not cover how we can explore space using in situ resources, nor what "green roads" to space would actually mean. In contrast, this book is broad ranging catalog of spacecraft propulsion technologies, fairly lightly drawn, with some comments on space colonies, mining and starflight thrown in.

This was a very light read. If you want more depth in any particular technology, another book specializing in that technology would probably be better.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Juvenile treatment February 10, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am quite disappointed. The treatment and writing level as well as quality of research is what I call juvenile. While I am only a lay person regarding these areas I know more about them than the authors deign to share in this book.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Living off the Land in Space. It conjures biodomes, algae-growing, 'clean' fuels, and a 1970s Original Star Trek view of the infinately hospitable worlds out in the black yonder for us to exploit - er, I meant explore...

Really, how often did you see Kirk in an enviro-suit and oxygen mask whilst cannodling on the surface of Virgos V?

Now, back to the book -

To my slight disappointment, however, there is much more technological discussion, and much less fantastical futuristic musings. Oh well.

Strangely, despite my lack of techie impulses, once I resigned myself to a bit of a slog through the 'hard' side, I did find myself intrigued by the reasoned discussion of various propulsion systems (chem-fuel, ramjets, magnetic-electric tethers, solar sails, ion! drives and more), an explication of the really really really unimaginably vast distances of SPACE (as in roughly 7,000 years - years! worth of travel (at our best modern rates) to reach Alpha Centauri - our nearest stellar neighbor), and a strange little inserted list explaining the levels that ideas, theories, and prototypes all go through before floating off towards our planetary neighbors, handily illustrated by even more interesting types of hardware that most people don't know we're developing.

The book (freely admitted both at beginning and end) is a bit dated, which is both good and bad. Good, because that means that our current levels of space interest are high enough to make this book outdated by the time it hits the presses; bad in that even the casual reader can smile sadly when he comments on the Japanese mission probe "which will return with asteroid samples in June of 2007" ... or not.

Lastly, the neo-hippy vibe of the title does not carry through the book.
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