America's space program is at a turning point. After decades of global primacy, NASA has ended the space-shuttle program, cutting off its access to space. No astronauts will be launched in an American craft, from American soil, until the 2020s, and NASA may soon find itself eclipsed by other countries' space programs.
With his signature wit and thought-provoking insights, Neil deGrasse Tyson--one of our foremost thinkers on all things space--illuminates the past, present, and future of space exploration and brilliantly reminds us why NASA matters now as much as ever. As Tyson reveals, exploring the space frontier can profoundly enrich many aspects of our daily lives, from education systems and the economy to national security and morale. For America to maintain its status as a global leader and a technological innovator, he explains, we must regain our enthusiasm and curiosity about what lies beyond our world.
Provocative, humorous, and wonderfully readable, Space Chronicles represents the best of Tyson's recent commentary, including a must-read prologue on NASA and partisan politics. Reflecting on topics that range from scientific literacy to space-travel missteps, Tyson gives us an urgent, clear-eyed, and ultimately inspiring vision for the future.
Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can't walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As Mary Roach discovers, it's possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA's new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.
A stunning, unprecedented collection of photographs and essays that goes behind the scenes at NASA, in which the humanity of the astronauts, engineers, scientists, technicians, and ground crews that contributed in saving the Hubble Space Telescope are revealed.Michael Soluri has been photographing the people and places of space exploration for more than fifteen years. With the support of Discover magazine, NASA, and the astronaut crew, he was able to gain unfettered access to the multiple worlds of the historic, one-of-a-kind shuttle mission and tools that saved the Hubble Space Telescope. His friendship with the crew grew out of a chance meeting with Mike Massimino, one of the seven astronauts selected for the last-ever servicing mission to the Hubble. Intrigued by the possibilities, Soluri asked Massimino: "What is the quality of light really like in space?" While astronauts take photos in space all the time, Soluri was asked to coach this crew into making photographs that better communicate their experiences in space the way an artist does: as expressions of human curiosity and ambition, and the infinite worlds to which humankind aspires in exploring the universe. Infinite Worlds is an exclusive and unscripted photographic documentary inside the world of three NASA flight centers in Maryland, Texas, and Florida. With the closing of the shuttle program, this is the first and last book of its kind. Designed with more than 400 gorgeous full-color and black & white photographs, it is woven with essays written by eighteen individuals from the human and robotic spaceflight labor force that participated in STS 125/SM4. Infinite Worlds will appeal not only to the space history buff and photography connoisseur, but also to the armchair astronomer, and families wanting an insightful and beautiful keepsake of the space shuttle and Hubble Space Telescope era.
In The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw approach the world of quantum mechanics in the same way they did in Why Does E=mc2? and make fundamental scientific principles accessible-and fascinating-to everyone.The subatomic realm has a reputation for weirdness, spawning any number of profound misunderstandings, journeys into Eastern mysticism, and woolly pronouncements on the interconnectedness of all things. Cox and Forshaw's contention? There is no need for quantum mechanics to be viewed this way. There is a lot of mileage in the "weirdness" of the quantum world, and it often leads to confusion and, frankly, bad science. The Quantum Universe cuts through the Wu Li and asks what observations of the natural world made it necessary, how it was constructed, and why we are confident that, for all its apparent strangeness, it is a good theory.The quantum mechanics of The Quantum Universe provide a concrete model of nature that is comparable in its essence to Newton's laws of motion, Maxwell's theory of electricity and magnetism, and Einstein's theory of relativity.
Our sun is one star among 50 billion in the galaxy. Our galaxy is only one among 50 billion in the universe. With a vastness this incomprehensible, it is easy to feel like we are mere specks of sand on an endless shore. But our sun is special. Though roughly 150 million kilometers separate us, we could not be more connected. Literally, everything you see comes from the sun. The words you are reading now are really photons that left the sun about 8 minutes ago only to bounce off this page and into your eyes. We owe our very existence to our sun. It provides just enough heat to keep our fragile bodies from freezing to ice or burning to a crisp. Every bite of food we eat we owe to the sun, whose energy is converted into plants that provide sustenance for everything up the food chain.
We have understood the sun's importance for millennia. The earliest humans, awestruck by its blazing splendor, left drawings of the sun on cave walls. Nearly every civilization, no matter where it sprang up on the planet, has revered the sun. Myths about the sun were the basis of the earliest deities of ancient Sumerian, Hindu, Egyptian, Chinese, and Meso-American cultures. Before Apollo, the ancient Greeks worshiped the sun-god Helios. Before Zeus, the ancient Romans worshiped Sol.
Throughout our history, the sun has been central to humanity's quest for meaning in the universe. But our history has been a brief moment in our sun's 4.5 billion year life. Only recently, through advances in science and technology, have we begun to understand our sun - where it came from, how it functions, how it affects our lives and how it eventually will destroy our planet.
Our Sun is a comprehensive, easy-to-understand guide to everything we know about our closest star. Illustrated with stunning pictures from NASA's newly-launched Solar Dynamics Observatory, Our Sun will reveal the science behind the sun, trace its impact on human history, and reveal its growing importance to our future way of life.
From a leading planetary scientist and an award-winning science writer, a propulsive account of the developments and initiatives that have transformed the dream of space colonization into something that may well be achievable.We are at the cusp of a golden age in space science, as increasingly more entrepreneurs--Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos--are seduced by the commercial potential of human access to space. But Beyond Earth does not offer another wide-eyed technology fantasy: instead, it is grounded not only in the human capacity for invention and the appeal of adventure but also in the bureaucratic, political, and scientific realities that present obstacles to space travel--realities that have hampered NASA's efforts ever since the Challenger disaster. In Beyond Earth, Charles Wohlforth and Amanda R.Hendrix offer groundbreaking research and argue persuasively that not Mars, but Titan--a moon of Saturn with a nitrogen atmosphere, a weather cycle, and an inexhaustible supply of cheap energy, where we will even be able to fly like birds in the minimal gravitational field--offers the most realistic and thrill-ing prospect of life without support from Earth. (With 8 pages of color illustrations)
In this fascinating Very Short Introduction, popular science writer John Gribben tells the story of our growing understanding of galaxies, from the days before Galileo to our present-day observations of our many hundreds of millions of galactic neighbors. Not only are galaxies fascinating astronomical structures in themselves, but their study has revealed much of what we know today about the cosmos, providing a window on the Big Bang and the origins of the Universe. Gribben looks at our own "Milky Way" Galaxy in detail, from the different kinds of stars that are born within it, to the origins of its magnificent spiral structure. Perhaps most interesting, Gribben describes the many exciting discoveries have been made about our own galaxy and about those beyond: how a supermassive black hole lurks at the center of every galaxy, how enormous forces are released when galaxies collide, how distant galaxies provide a window on the early Universe, and how the formation of young galaxies shed needed light on the mysteries of Cold Dark Matter.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
*An ALA Notable Book of 2015*