- Series: Science and Technology Series (Book 80)
- Hardcover: 370 pages
- Publisher: Univelt (May 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0877033447
- ISBN-13: 978-0877033448
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.2 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,648,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Prospects for Interstellar Travel (Science and Technology Series)
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Top Customer Reviews
2) the second outstanding thing is that the brevity imposed on the first half of the book having to do with propulsion forces the author to be very succinct in his explanations of possible interstellar schemes. I like this because alot of the physics I already know; this makes for concise description of the technical details. A lay reader unfamiliar with physics and engineering background and conventions will find much of this material incomprehensible. For example, many of the drawings having to do with, say, magnetic nozzles and electromagnetic mass drives, are annotated with lines marked "B" and "I". For the uninitiated, the letter B stands for a magnetic field or lines of magnetic induction, and the letter I stands for an electrical current (amperes, or coulombs per second of charge flow).
The book is not a slick production; it looks as if it was printed from a 1980s era MS-DOS computer. Considering that it was published in 1992 and Mauldin obviously spent at least a few years putting it together, that seems likely. But the charts and diagrams are still intelligible. Nonetheless, the quality and breadth of the material is outstanding. And believe it or not, there aren't any space aliens! (not even any space wasted with speculations about ETIs).
Sure, getting a copy nowadays will set you back quite a few $$$, but there is nothing else quite like Prospects in the literature.
Sobering to realise that 20 years have passed since this book came out. Sadly, it is still largely up to date. Rocketry has barely advanced beyond what was described here. Likewise for the other topics. The great advances in computing barely register in terms of improving the prospects for long duration space flights.
There is one topic however which has vastly improved. The detection of exoplanets - planets outside our solar system. In 1992 the topic was just ramping up, and no exoplanets were known. Now the tally is up to 700 or so, and increasing rapidly each year. Exoplanets were completely and correctly omitted from the text. A newer edition would have to bring these in. We can anticipate that soon we will have a much better idea of where to travel to. The book could only speculate on vague generalities of destinations.
Now if only rocketry could improve massively!