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This Is Rocket Science: True Stories of the Risk-taking Scientists who Figure Out Ways to Explore Beyond Earth Hardcover – April 13, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–7—Though possibly of interest as a sketchy update for the likes of Ron Miller's Rockets (Lerner, 2007), Steve Otfinoski's Rockets (Marshall Cavendish, 2006), or older surveys, this overview of the history of rocketry largely covers well-scouted territory. Tucking a few uncommon details into, particularly, the early chapters, Skurzynski begins with the development of gunpowder bombs and rockets in China, goes on to explain the ideas of pioneers like Konstantin Tsiolkovksy and Robert Goddard, then recaps the Space Race and highlights of the Space Shuttle Program. After a quick look at the commercial rockets under development by Elon Musk's SpaceX Corporation (but none of his several private competitors), she closes with a highly selective list of alternatives to chemical rockets: the space elevator, solar sails, ion engines, and magneto-plasma propulsion. Further marred by a hard-to-read main text printed in low-contrast gray against a patterned background, and also an incorrect claim that the solar wind is composed of photons, this book may draw some readers with its attractive photos and packaging, but doesn't make a significant contribution to space exploration's history or ongoing initiatives.—John Peters, New York Public Library
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Beginning 2,000 years ago when Chinese scientists developed gunpowder and fireworks, this concise title outlines the history of rocket technology, all the way up to twentieth-century marvels, such as the R-7 rocket that launched Sputnik into orbit, and today’s latest research. Throughout, Skurzynski lucidly explains challenging concepts, such as Newton’s laws of motion, and she shows the intricate connections between historical events and scientific breakthroughs, particularly in passages about World Wars I and II and their aftermath: “However unpleasant it might sound, the Cold War stimulated the development of space and satellite technology,” reads one quote from a Russian space engineer. Sci-fi’s important role in shaping modern rocket science will intrigue kids, who will also enjoy reading about young people’s cutting-edge contributions, including a magneto-plasma rocket MIT students made from a Coke can and a plastic water bottle: “They built it for fun, but . . . it worked! This is how exciting future technologies are born.” Amply illustrated with a mix of captivating photos and archival art, this will inspire interest in a wide audience. Grades 6-9. --Gillian Engberg
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1210L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426305974
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426305979
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.4 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #934,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Horses Malone on May 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I do see now in the editorial description that this book is directed towards kids. I thought I was buying a coffee-table text geared toward adults. Nevertheless, there is a lot of good information that an adult with no rocket background can still pick up, but the editing was done poorly. Several pages either have repeating sentences on subsequent pages or have discontinuous writing (sentences end abruptly without finishing the thought).

The pictures are great and it provides a good background, but it could have been better.
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By P. Wolf on October 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
History and future combined to create a good mix of space exploration and production of science.
I would recommend this book to you on the Kindle.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is a well put together piece, but the pictures were very distracting and made it feel like I was reading a book meant for small childern
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