Space Exploration
Featured Items
The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story
The Astronaut Wives Club
A True Story
Hardcover      ISBN: 1455503258
Discover the true story of the women who stood beside some of the greatest heroes of American space travel in this New York Times bestseller that delivers "a truly great snapshot of the times" (Publishers Weekly).

As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons.

Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; JFK made it clear that platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was his favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived with a secret that needed to stay hidden from NASA. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, providing one another with support and friendship, coffee and cocktails.

As their celebrity rose--and as divorce and tragedy began to touch their lives--the wives continued to rally together, forming bonds that would withstand the test of time, and they have stayed friends for over half a century.

*Includes reading group guide*
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
Pale Blue Dot
A Vision of the Human Future in Space
Paperback      ISBN: 0345376595
"Fascinating . . . memorable . . . revealing . . . perhaps the best of Carl Sagan's books."--The Washington Post Book World (front page review)

In Cosmos, the late astronomer Carl Sagan cast his gaze over the magnificent mystery of the Universe and made it accessible to millions of people around the world. Now in this stunning sequel, Carl Sagan completes his revolutionary journey through space and time.

Future generations will look back on our epoch as the time when the human race finally broke into a radically new frontier--space. In Pale Blue Dot, Sagan traces the spellbinding history of our launch into the cosmos and assesses the future that looms before us as we move out into our own solar system and on to distant galaxies beyond. The exploration and eventual settlement of other worlds is neither a fantasy nor luxury, insists Sagan, but rather a necessary condition for the survival of the human race.

"Takes readers far beyond Cosmos . . . Sagan sees humanity's future in the stars."--Chicago Tribune
Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe
Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs
The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe
Paperback      ISBN: 0062328506

"A cracking read, combining storytelling of the highest order with a trove of information. . . . What's remarkable is that it all fits together."--Wall Street Journal

"Successful science writing tells a complete story of the 'how'--the methodical marvel building up to the 'why'--and Randall does just that."--New York Times Book Review

" Randall] is a lucid explainer, street-wise and informal. Without jargon or mathematics, she steers us through centuries of sometimes tortuous astronomical history."--The Guardian

In Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, Professor Lisa Randall, one of today's most influential theoretical physicists, takes readers on an intellectual adventure through the history of the cosmos, showing how events in the farthest reaches of the Universe created the conditions for life--and death--on our planet.

Sixty-six million years ago, an object the size of a city crashed into Earth, killing off the dinosaurs, along with three-quarters of the planet's species. Challenging the usual assumptions about the simple makeup of the unseen material that constitutes 85% of the matter in the Universe, Randall explains how a disk of dark matter in the Milky Way plane might have triggered the cataclysm.

But Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs does more than present a radical idea. With clarity and wit, it explains the nature of the Universe, dark matter, the Milky Way galaxy, comets, asteroids, and impacts. This breathtaking synthesis, illuminated by pop culture references and social and political viewpoints, reveals the deep relationships among the small and the large, the visible and the hidden, as well as the astonishing beauty of the connections that surround us. It's impossible to read this book and look at either the Earth or the sky again in the same way.

Moon Men Return: USS Hornet and the Recovery of the Apollo 11 Astronauts
Moon Men Return
USS Hornet and the Recovery of the Apollo 11 Astronauts
Hardcover      ISBN: 1591141109

This book documents the role played by USS Hornet (CVS-12) in the recovery of the Apollo 11 Command Module after its splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on 24 July 1969. The book covers a period of time leading up to the recovery of Apollo 11, from approximately 5 June - 24 July 1969, during which crewmen of USS Hornet plus specialized NASA and DoD spaceflight recovery units prepared for the recovery operation. It offers a detailed account of those preparations, drawn from both historical records and the personal memories of 80 men who served on board USS Hornet and directly participated in the recovery operation. The purpose of this book is to document for future generations the Navy's role in the successful final phase of the historic flight of Apollo 11 - the manned spaceflight which culminated in man's first walk upon another celestial body, the moon.

The Hunt for Vulcan: And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe
The Hunt for Vulcan
And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe
Hardcover      ISBN: 0812998987
The captivating, all-but-forgotten story of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and the search for a planet that never existed

For more than fifty years, the world's top scientists searched for the "missing" planet Vulcan, whose existence was mandated by Isaac Newton's theories of gravity. Countless hours were spent on the hunt for the elusive orb, and some of the era's most skilled astronomers even claimed to have found it.

There was just one problem: It was never there.

In The Hunt for Vulcan, Thomas Levenson follows the visionary scientists who inhabit the story of the phantom planet, starting with Isaac Newton, who in 1687 provided an explanation for all matter in motion throughout the universe, leading to Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier, who almost two centuries later built on Newton's theories and discovered Neptune, becoming the most famous scientist in the world. Le Verrier attempted to surpass that triumph by predicting the existence of yet another planet in our solar system, Vulcan.

It took Albert Einstein to discern that the mystery of the missing planet was a problem not of measurements or math but of Newton's theory of gravity itself. Einstein's general theory of relativity proved that Vulcan did not and could not exist, and that the search for it had merely been a quirk of operating under the wrong set of assumptions about the universe. Levenson tells the previously untold tale of how the "discovery" of Vulcan in the nineteenth century set the stage for Einstein's monumental breakthrough, the greatest individual intellectual achievement of the twentieth century.

A dramatic human story of an epic quest, The Hunt for Vulcan offers insight into how science really advances (as opposed to the way we're taught about it in school) and how the best work of the greatest scientists reveals an artist's sensibility. Opening a new window onto our world, Levenson illuminates some of our most iconic ideas as he recounts one of the strangest episodes in the history of science.

Praise for The Hunt for Vulcan

"Delightful . . . a charming tale about an all-but-forgotten episode in science history."--The Wall Street Journal

"Engaging . . . At heart, this is a story about how science advances, one insight at a time. But the immediacy, almost romance, of Levenson's writing makes it almost novelistic."--The Washington Post

"Captures the drama of the tireless search for this celestial object."--Science

"A well-structured, fast-paced example of exemplary science writing."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A short, beautifully produced book that tells a cautionary tale . . . Levenson is a breezy writer who renders complex ideas in down-to-earth language."--The Boston Globe

"An inspiring tale about the quest for discovery."--Walter Isaacson

"Equal to the best science writing I've read anywhere, by any author. Beautifully composed, rich in historical context, deeply researched, it is, above all, great storytelling."--Alan Lightman, author of The Accidental Universe

"Levenson tells us where Vulcan came from, how it vanished, and why its spirit lurks today. Along the way, we learn more than a bit of just how science works--when it succeeds as well as when it fails."--Neil deGrasse Tyson

"Science writing at its best. This book is not just learned, passionate, and witty--it is profoundly wise."--Junot Diaz
Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space
Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space
Hardcover      ISBN: 0307958191
The authoritative story of the headline-making discovery of gravitational waves--by an eminent theoretical astrophysicist and award-winning writer.

From the author of How the Universe Got Its Spots and A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, the epic story of the scientific campaign to record the soundtrack of our universe.

Black holes are dark. That is their essence. When black holes collide, they will do so unilluminated. Yet the black hole collision is an event more powerful than any since the origin of the universe. The profusion of energy will emanate as waves in the shape of spacetime: gravitational waves. No telescope will ever record the event; instead, the only evidence would be the sound of spacetime ringing. In 1916, Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves, his top priority after he proposed his theory of curved spacetime. One century later, we are recording the first sounds from space, the soundtrack to accompany astronomy's silent movie.

In Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, Janna Levin recounts the fascinating story of the obsessions, the aspirations, and the trials of the scientists who embarked on an arduous, fifty-year endeavor to capture these elusive waves. An experimental ambition that began as an amusing thought experiment, a mad idea, became the object of fixation for the original architects--Rai Weiss, Kip Thorne, and Ron Drever. Striving to make the ambition a reality, the original three gradually accumulated an international team of hundreds. As this book was written, two massive instruments of remarkably delicate sensitivity were brought to advanced capability. As the book draws to a close, five decades after the experimental ambition began, the team races to intercept a wisp of a sound with two colossal machines, hoping to succeed in time for the centenary of Einstein's most radical idea. Janna Levin's absorbing account of the surprises, disappointments, achievements, and risks in this unfolding story offers a portrait of modern science that is unlike anything we've seen before.
Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution
Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution
Paperback      ISBN: 0393327582

Our true origins are not just human, or even terrestrial, but in fact cosmic. Drawing on recent scientific breakthroughs and the current cross-pollination among geology, biology, astrophysics, and cosmology, Origins explains the soul-stirring leaps in our understanding of the cosmos. From the first image of a galaxy birth to Spirit Rover's exploration of Mars, to the discovery of water on one of Jupiter's moons, coauthors Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith conduct a galvanizing tour of the cosmos with clarity and exuberance.

Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World
Mapping Mars
Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World
Paperback      ISBN: 031242261x

How can you make sense of a world where no one has ever lived? Acclaimed science writer Oliver Morton tells the story of the heroic landscapes of Mars, now better mapped in some ways than the Earth itself. Mapping Mars introduces the reader to the nineteenth-century visionaries and spy-satellite pioneers, the petroleum geologists and science-fiction writers, the artists and Arctic explorers who have devoted themselves to the discovery of Mars. In doing so they have given a new world to the human imagination, a setting for our next great adventure.

The Physics of Star Trek
The Physics of Star Trek
Paperback      ISBN: 0465002048
How does the Star Trek universe stack up against the real universe?

What warps when you're traveling at warp speed? What is the difference between a wormhole and a black hole? Are time loops really possible, and can I kill my grandmother before I am born? Anyone who has ever wondered could this really happen? will gain useful insights into the Star Trek universe (and, incidentally, the real world of physics) in this charming and accessible guide. Lawrence M. Krauss boldly goes where Star Trek has gone-and beyond. From Newton to Hawking, from Einstein to Feynman, from Kirk to Picard, Krauss leads readers on a voyage to the world of physics as we now know it and as it might one day be.
The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew
The Accidental Universe
The World You Thought You Knew
Paperback      ISBN: 034580595x

With passion and curiosity, Alan Lightman explores the emotional and philosophical questions raised by recent discoveries in science. He looks at the dialogue between science and religion; the conflict between our human desire for permanence and the impermanence of nature; the possibility that our universe is simply an accident; the manner in which modern technology has separated us from direct experience of the world; and our resistance to the view that our bodies and minds can be explained by scientific logic and laws.

Behind all of these considerations is the suggestion--at once haunting and exhilarating--that what we see and understand of the world is only a tiny piece of the extraordinary, perhaps unfathomable whole.