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Space Exploration For Dummies 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470445730
ISBN-10: 0470445734
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About the Author

Cynthia Phillips, PhD, and Shana Priwer are the coauthors of 14 books on subjects including astronomy, Einstein, da Vinci, the physics of the built environment, and a variety of other topics. Phillips works at the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe at the SETI Institute. Priwer works for an architectural/design software company.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470445734
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470445730
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #652,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By EDNA K. DEVORE on June 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
"Space Exploration for Dummies" is the latest addition to the yellow-covered "Dummies" series. Researched and penned by Dr. Cynthia Phillips, planetary geologist at the SETI Institute, and her partner, Shana Priwer, professional writer, this book captures the essential facts and accomplishments of the real space cadets.

The book invites browsing. While organized into logical chapters, readers are urged to jump straight to the topic of greatest interest. In case you're a novice astronomer, there's a quick light-hearted primer on basic astronomy. Then, it's on to rocket science. Phillips and Priwer have a light touch, and write for the non-rocket scientist. This is rocketry that your grandparents could understand. Rockets carry up payloads, and often astronauts. So you want to be an astronaut? Turn to chapter 4 to learn about your ride. But, all you would-be astronauts, go on to read chapter 5 about space tragedies before consulting your life insurance agent. Like 15th century exploration of the Earth, space exploration is dangerous. People do die trying, and the history of the tragedies is both thoughtful and sobering. It honors the people who made the ultimate sacrifice in our journey to the stars.

Back to 1957: Sputnik was the first human-made satellite to orbit Earth. It was amazing to me, and still is. Over several chapters, "Space Exploration" breezes through the early days of the space race and on to Apollo, Soyuz, Mir and the Space Station. It's useful to have all of this brought together succinctly: many missions and many astronauts at my fingertips. I especially appreciated the inclusion of the 13 women who worked to become astronauts in 1960, but were excluded by NASA for lack of Air Force pilot training (something they, as women, could not obtain at the time, p. 99.
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Format: Paperback
Should be fun to update to the age of nanosats! A quite useful little book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
True to the Dummies series, this is an accessible, light-hearted introductory level book. It focuses primarily on NASA missions, with a secondary emphasis on Russian explorations.

Part I gives quick overviews of space exploration, astronomy, rockets, and becoming an astronaut. It also contains a chapter on space disasters. Parts II-V cover space missions: II - The Space Race (Moon race, planetary missions, space stations), III - Second-Generation Missions (space shuttle, Mir, Mars expeditions, inner solar system, outer solar system), IV - Current Space Exploration (Hubble, ISS, Mars), V - Future of Space Exploration (China, India, commercial space). Along with the NASA missions site (http://www.nasa.gov/missions/), this book will get you started on the path to understanding space technology.

Pros:
* Easy read
* Lots of web links

Cons:
* Skimpy coverage of commercial (non-government) space interests.
* Slightly dated. (To be fair, this is inevitable in a fast-changing field)
* The Kindle version does not have a color picture section. A picture of the "pale monochrome dot" just doesn't have the same zing.
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