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An Introduction to Planetary Defense: A Study of Modern Warfare Applied to Extra-Terrestrial Invasion Paperback – February 27, 2006

3.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Travis Shane Taylor is a born and bred southerner and resides just outside Huntsville, Alabama. He has a Doctorate in Optical Science and Engineering, a Master’s degree in Physics, a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, all from the University of Alabama in Huntsville; a Master’s degree in Astronomy from the Univ. of Western Sydney, and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Alabama. Dr. Taylor has worked on various programs for the Department of Defense and NASA for the past sixteen years. He is currently working on several advanced propulsion concepts, very large space telescopes, space based beamed energy systems, future combat technologies and systems, and next generation space launch concepts. He is also involved with multiple MASINT, SIGINT, IMINT, and HUMINT concept studies. He has published over 25 papers and the appendix on solar sailing in the 2nd edition of Deep Space Probes by Greg Matloff.

Dr. Bob Boan has been an active member of the space community for over a quarter of a century. He has worked on a variety of manned and unmanned space programs at different levels of responsibility over that time. Prior to his space experience he was a member of graduate school in several states. Dr. Boan is also recognized as a community expert on SIGINT, IMINT, and Communication systems and concepts. He also has significant MASINT experience. He has multiple relevant patents and technical publications. Dr. Boan has attended a variety of colleges and universities. He received his BS from Campbell University, then Campbell College. His Master’s was awarded by the University of Mississippi. He earned his doctorate at the Florida Institute of Technology.

Charles Anding received his bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Mississippi State University in 1978. He has additional studies in systems engineering, digital signal processing and electromagnetic environmental effects. Mr. Anding has applied his creativity and expertise to solve a diversity of engineering problems for over 25 years. He has designed electronics and systems for space, military, industrial and medical products. He was the prime contractor's chief engineer for the design and development of a furnace system to grow semiconductor crystals in microgravity on both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. He supported its use on multiple Spacelab missions, including training of the astronauts and sitting console for payload operations Mr. Anding was the chief engineer, along with Dr. Taylor as chief scientist, for the development of a novel new mission and spacecraft for exploring Pluto. He has designed and supported equipment on Navy fighter aircraft, Army main battle tanks, and attack helicopters. Non-invasive cardiac monitors for medical market, industrial robotics for the nuclear segment and user authorized handguns are just a few more examples of his broad experience base. He is currently designing controls for demilitarization of binary chemical weapons and beginning research and development for future fuel cell based power systems for rugged environments as well as building unmanned aerial vehicles for defense purposes. Dr. Thomas Conley Powell holds a B.A. in physics from Berea College, an M.S. in engineering science from the University of Tennessee Space Institute, and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Kentucky. He is a senior scientist with BAE Systems in Huntsville, Alabama. Before joining BAE, he was a faculty member at the Space Institute; a member of the technical staff at Arnold Engineering Development Center, near Tullahoma, Tennessee; and a member of the technical staff of Teledyne Brown Engineering, in Huntsville. He has taught graduate courses in subjects ranging from astrophysics to nuclear engineering, and has worked in areas as diverse as aircraft control and nuclear fusion. However, his specialties are space trajectories, attitude dynamics, and numerical analysis. Recently he has developed an innovative fire-control system for artillery and surface-to-surface and surface-to-space rockets. He is writing a textbook on orbital mechanics.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Brown Walker Press (February 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581124473
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581124477
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.5 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #336,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An Introduction to Planetary Defense by Travis S. Taylor, et al., is a very comprehensive and scientific look at the possibility of and preparation for an alien contact and/or invasion. Opening up the book with a thorough and concise outline of the entire textbook (allowing one to easily prepare for an opening for a thesis paper), Taylor and Bob Boan waste no time in diving into the science and probabilities (or lack thereof) of an alien contact or invasion. Using graph's for visual assistance, they are able to easily explain scientific theories and examples that were once restricted to the realm of the scientific community. Boan's careful research, blended with Taylor's penchant for converting the incomprehensible to layman's terms, this book is the first step in the proper direction.

The book is divided into 7 main chapters, with subsections inside each. Each chapter focuses on one area of alien contact or invasion. These chapters are simple, so I took the liberty of shortening the chapter titles (or altering them to make this fun):

1) Chances of an alien invasion

2) Warfare with aliens

3) Which aliens are friendly, which want us for lunch

4) Do we need to know?

5) Did we say hello, or are you our lunch?

6) Who's prepared, and who's preparing?

7) Conclusion

While renaming the chapter titles may seem redundant, it is just one way that any student or professor can look at this book and not easily dismiss it as simply science fiction. The book should be in some classes, from politics to theoretical engineering, possibly even ethics. Each class could benefit from having a book such as this in the classroom, let alone the higher ups in our own government.
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First, some bona-fides. In my previous military career, I flew B-52Gs as an Electronic Warfare Officer, Instructor Electronic Warfare Officer, and Staff Instructor Electronic Warfare Officer, with a combined total of over 4500 hours of in-flight and simulator time, and spent 18 months on the Battle Staff of the 42nd Bombardment Wing (Heavy). I've helped plan missions that have never been flown (i.e. monthly contingency planning exercises), and planned what became the first few nights of B-52s in Operation DESERT STORM, 2 years before Kuwait was invaded.

Dr. Taylor's book provides the same type of background information on tactics, strategy, and alternatives as we used in formulating effective missions. The information is concise and informative, and yet engagingly written. This book needs to be on the reading list of every Intelligence officer as well as part of the reading for mid-level and higher Officer Development, and definitely covered during War College attendence.

And, frankly, it's also a interesting read, and would also make an interesting special for something like the Discovery Network. While written as a scholarly textbook, the level is suitable for the average college graduate.
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This book is a major let down. The language used is often clumsy and confusing. The references are hardly scholarly, including many science fiction films and novels, not to mention Wikipedia. You read that correctly, the text cites Wikipedia for a definition of "mecha."

The authors also suggest that internet searches will yield relevant information if desired. That's right, I paid for a book to tell me to look it up on Google. Graphs are referred to that were clearly left out of the book; for example, page 67 has a giant blank space where figure 2.3 belongs. Figures 2.2 and 2.4 are present, and figure 2.3 is referenced, but is absent. Additionally, the political slant presented is painfully obvious, tacky, and irrelevant.

While the topic of extraterrestrial attack allows for a great deal of speculation, the content they offer is poorly conceived, and there is very little offered at that. It appears that the formula for this book is: "[insert interesting topic] is beyond the scope of this book." The ideas that are presented are incongruous. For example, the authors describe at length the importance of developing laser-based weaponry, as it is assumed that light speed weapons will be of greater value than, say, nuclear missiles which are merely hypersonic. Fair enough. The authors then postulate that extraterrestrials will likely be able to travel at speeds at least 100 times greater than the speed of light. It appears to me that this would render the light speed lasers quite useless.

The authors seem to trapped in the mindset of the military-industrial complex, going as far as to advocate for a renewed global nuclear arms race. Don't bother with this book.
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This book is billed as the first, serious look by defense professionals at how the people of Earth might analyze, comprehend, and then defend against an Alien invasion. There are interesting and thought provoking ideas here but, their impact is lessened considerably and the credibility of the entire book itself is called into question by the occasionally illogical, and often clumsy and semi-literate writing style of the authors, for example, p.15 "If we are the only intelligent life form in the universe, why is there such a vast universe?" or p. 21 "It is most likely that any advanced civilization could eventually detect any lesser-advanced civilization." or p. 49 "We must refrain from automatically assigning the science of Earth as the set of natural laws that govern other celestial bodies. The natural laws, or at the least the understanding of them, are probably different in each alien civilization"

Given the book's subject, impeccable presentation is essential to convince readers that this is a serious book by professionals on a very serious topic; anything less relegates the book to science fiction status, and feeds the "giggle factor." Such a book as this could hold crucial ideas if we were ever faced with such an invasion but, it needs a complete re-write to be anywhere near as informative and influential as it could be. Attention also needs to be paid to upgrading many of the illustrations, which are also less than professional in quality.
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