- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (April 13, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393239306
- ISBN-13: 978-0393239300
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 34 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #888,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Beyond: Our Future in Space 1st Edition
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“Expansive and enlightening… Impey is not only a skilled scientist who studies active galactic nuclei, he’s also an adept and prolific communicator, who packs his prose with wonderful anecdotes and weird factoids… Beyond truly soars. Its concluding section…offers more plausible ideas than can be found in whole shelves of futuristic science fiction.”
- Lee Billings, New York Times Book Review
“One of the most accessible accounts of the history of rockets and space travel I have ever read…entertaining and informative.”
- John Gribbin, Wall Street Journal
- Discover Magazine
“Bold, elegant and engaging.”
“In Beyond, Chris Impey manages to rejuvenate that ‘Space Is Our Future’ feeling that pervaded human culture a half century ago. A needed reminder that, today, not enough of us are looking up, and even fewer among us are doing anything about it.”
- Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History
“This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the fate of the human race and our bright future among the stars. Chris Impey shows how our efforts to expand beyond Earth are part of the same biological drive that made humans spread their habitat across the face of the Earth.”
- Ben Bova, bestselling author and president emeritus of the National Space Society
“A rare look into the future through a wide-angle lens. With hope and skill, Impey has an optimistic vision in which we finally, and permanently, break the bonds of Earth.”
- David H. Levy, discoverer of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and twenty-two other comets
About the Author
Chris Impey is a distinguished professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Arizona and the critically acclaimed author of Beyond, How It Began, and How It Ends, as well as two astronomy textbooks. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.
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Generations ago, mankind began spreading out from the cradle of civilization in Africa. Tribes migrated to the unknown, covering distances that took them decades or centuries to travel. In a similar way, we are poised to explore worlds beyond our own. Impey is realistic about the timing: it ain't happening anytime soon. But he's also optimistic about the drive and the technology to get started.
The Space Shuttle program demonstrated the weakness of a bloated government bureaucracy looking to space. The Shuttle "launch rate ended up ten times lower than originally planned and the cost per launch twenty times higher," not to mention two of the five shuttles blowing up. Impey compares the early, government and military dominance of the space program to the early days of the Internet. "The government and military have deep enough pockets to develop technology with no eye on profit or return on investment. Once the field has been prepared and tilled, the private sector can scatter seed and see what grows best." The moon landings and the Space Shuttle program tilled the field. Now private companies are moving us forward to space.
Impey covers a lot of ground (and space!) in Beyond. He's not shy about discussing the logistical, practical limitations we live under now that seem to make interplanetary travel and colonization a pipe dream, but he writes, "We have the technology and the means to live and work in space, gain a permanent toehold off-Earth, and explore the Solar System and beyond. No laws of physics stand in our way." He envisions a near future of a commercial space industry, of colonies on the Moon and Mars within 30 years, asteroid mining in 50 years, and, in a century, a generation of people who are born in space and live out their lives off Earth.
Impey's vision is a great combination of science and speculation, of dreaming and reporting. I hope the children of today can catch his vision and reach heights never reached.
Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
In a manner of speaking, this book tells you why, and it is not the fault of any country or entity such as NASA. We went on a fast paced race to the Moon from President Kennedy’s announcement in 1961 to the landing in 1969, and continued to pursue it until 1972, and then stopped, in pursuit of other space projects; Skylab, the space shuttle. We slowed down because our interest waned, as any new venture does with the public at large. Privatization is now in the launching business, and is set to expand in other industries.
Chris Impey’s Beyond is divided into four sections, each beginning with part of a fictitious tale, all being one story, of an adventurer setting out on the frontier a century or more from now, ending, in the last section, of landing on a planet orbiting another star. The first three sections deal in the past, present, and future, and the fourth covers a century or two from now when we may set out for the stars (titled “Beyond”).
When man set out from his birthplace in Africa to wander Asia, Europe, and then the Americas in the span of over one hundred thousand years, to a tale of a Chinese government official, Wan Hu, tying rockets (fireworks) to his chair to launch himself into space. They never found him, but there were explosions in the sky, to the 20th century with a brief summery on the launch of Sputnik, the Apollo Moon landings, and the space shuttle.
It is in the second section, justifiably called “present,” that gives the run-down on what is happening now, with Chapter 4 optimistically called, “Revolution is Coming.” This section first describe NASA’s low period after the Moon landings ended, to how and why its budget fell from five percent to 0.5% of the federal budget, and what NASA subsequently did. The history of airplane and space flight is covered here, and then fast forwards to the present, with the advent of space tourism, and what is required to participate.
The entrepreneurs, from Burt Rutan of Virgin Galactic to Elon Musk of Space X are all here, along with the financial problems and solutions of setting up one’s business.
Many little known facts, of all aspects of space travel are mentioned, from space sickness to government red tape (regulations, and fees) in setting up your own business. If one can handle all this, the next challenge would be to figure out how to deal with the space frontier itself, i.e. how much fuel is required to get to a satellite or space station in low Earth orbit, how much will it cost, how cheap can you make it and still turn out a profit. Note, this does not necessarily point out what space has to offer for you to make money. The book merely states the complexities of doing so; what is required, how much will it cost, what are the risks. Space technology is compared to other high tech industries, but also points out that it is not progressing at the same speed.
Many experiments have been mentioned, such as Biosphere 2, where the media hyped it, but turned out to be a failure because oxygen ran down and had to be resupplied from outside, but it also covered on what has succeeded in that experiment, and how one can correct the mistakes and capitalize on its successes.
Of course, there has also been a lot of government waste (of money) in the space program, which was why the entrepreneurs are now coming in and picking up the slack. A shuttle launch costed $1.5 billion. A SpaceX launch costs $10 million, and decreasing.
There is the future. China, of course, will be a participant. Settlements on the Moon, colonies on Mars, and what has been proposed has been covered. Will it be that simple? Mars One is a project to put people on Mars permanently. What will be the psychological effects?
New propulsion systems such as solar sailing, and it various types, are explained.
Lastly, we hope to go to the stars. But, complex technology is involved, requiring energy at least 10 times as much as the entire Earth presently produces in order to travel one tenth the speed of light.
The writings of visionaries are featured, from Gerard O’Neill’s space habitats to Freeman Dyson’s “Dyson Sphere,” along with honorable mentions from prominent science fiction writers.
This is a book that covers man’s history of wandering the Earth, his dreams of traveling to space since the Middle Ages, the present accomplishments, and what is being done now from both governments and entrepreneurs, and what is required to finally achieve this dream. It is possible, but not with risks and dangers, new advances in technologies, the travelers who are able to physically and psychologically handle the venture, and, of course, lots of money.