"There is something almost quixotic in scientists' work to make remote-sensed data into not only signals but places. It is lovely; and at the same time problematic. Lisa Messeri poignantly renders all of this palpable at once. Rich with ethnographic detail, Placing Outer Space makes a decided contribution to discussions in anthropology and science studies on outer space and alien worlds and to classic discussions of the significance of 'fieldwork,' 'immersion,' and the dialectic between the strange and familiar in knowledge production."
(Timothy Choy, author of Ecologies of Comparison: An Ethnography of Endangerment in Hong Kong
"Part cosmic travelogue, part scholarly analysis, in Placing Outer Space: An Earthly Ethnography of Other Worlds, Lisa Messeri refreshingly interprets the planetary scientist's methods and tools and orbs-of-interest through the lens of a curious anthropologist. From there we gain insight into who we really are as explorers, and what motivates our endless search for worlds beyond."
(Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History)
"Placing Outer Space traces the scientific contours of interstellar dreams, where hints of distant planets open up the magical possibilities of other worlds. Lisa Messeri is an outstanding guide to this outer terrain of human ingenuity, and her terrestrial adventures through research sites demonstrate how the universe becomes all the more interesting as it grows familiar. In searching for exoplanets, humans rediscover their own world, learning to see both earth and sky in newly intimate ways."
(Peter Redfield, author of Space in the Tropics: From Convicts to Rockets in French Guiana
"To become an exoplanet scientist, Messeri shows (in part by undergoing some training herself), is to learn to see and convey these abstractions as something more relatable — as 'super-Earths' or 'mini-Neptunes' or such. 'To excite the community about a particular visualization,' as Messeri nicely puts it, 'is to convince them that the image contains a world.' And to really excite the community, presumably, is to convince them that a world contains little green men."
(James Ryerson New York Times Book Review
"Placing Outer Space is a welcome addition to the literature on planetary science. Not only has Messeri achieved what has eluded so many writers—putting humans at the center of the account—she has also succeeded in crafting a compelling narrative of discovery."
(Matthew Shindell Physics Today
"Messeri’s book is an excellent addition to both the increasing scholarship concerning the cosmos in science and technology studies and the resurgent field of outer space anthropology. Her thorough analysis of place-making practices by an often insulated community is accompanied by her vivid and absorbing ethnographic writing. Placing Outer Space is an excellent example of academic writing that is supremely beneficial and accessible to both the academy and the public"
(Taylor R. Genovese LSE Review of Books