From Publishers Weekly
"Conceived primarily as a political statement, Apollo achieved much more than its original goal," Beattie, a geologist and former project manager of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments, writes in this valuable addition to the literature on America's race for the moon. When President John F. Kennedy issued his mandate in 1961 to put an American on the lunar surface before the end of the decade, the objective was to beat the Soviets, whose space program at the time was two years ahead of our own. Kennedy's mandate did not specify what the astronauts should do once they got there; simply getting there was enough. Beattie gives a first-hand account of efforts by NASA scientists to do more to include science payloads on Apollo missions despite opposition from mission engineers, who envisioned a direct round-trip shot with as much margin for error as possible. The Apollo 11 mission that culminated in Neil Armstrong's historic "giant leap for mankind" was much different; it combined a command module sent from a low earth orbit with a lunar lander carrying a hard-fought minimum payload for collecting seismic and other data. Later missions would carry a full 250 pounds for lunar experiments, the result of years of planning, design and training by NASA project managers, engineers and astronauts. Beattie faithfully chronicles all this in a comprehensive yet thoroughly readable manner. As he shows, the Apollo missions yielded a harvest of data, much of which still has not yet been fully analyzed. Beattie's account helps complete the historical record of the Apollo years; it will hold great appeal for rocket enthusiasts, providing as it does a behind-the-scenes look at one of the greatest adventures in history.
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Taking Science to the Moon transports the reader behind NASAs facade, and into the 1960s' politics, planning sessions, turf battles, camaraderie, and jealousies of the world's major space agency. An absorbing, insightful, and revealing critical history of what eventually turned out to be a hugely successful scientific endeavor.
(David W. Hughes The Observatory
Comprehensive yet thoroughly readable, it will hold great appeal for rocket enthusiasts, providing as it does a behind-the-scenes look at one of the greatest adventures in history.
We get valuable insights into how committees worked and into the struggles for scientific payload space on lunar landers, and into how geological objectives were devised. We also discover how fears of contamination from lunar organisms led to the creation of an elaborate quarantine facility for the first men on the moon. This is a fascinating book.
(Martin Heath Astronomy Now
This is a very detailed yet clearly written and interesting account of the tremendous effort involved in getting the greatest science return from the Apollo program, starting with having it included in the first place.
(Steven Simon Journal of Geology