|1||Bob Harkins Branch||629.4 THO||Book||Adult General Collection|
Have you ever dreamed of being an astronaut, traveling through the universe on your very own space mission? What would it be like to tour the solar system, visiting the sun and the planets, taking in everything from moons to asteroid belts along the way? What would you see, and how would you feel? What would you eat? How would you navigate and produce fuel? How would you survive?On this epic voyage of discovery, astronomer Mark Thompson takes you on that journey. From how to prepare for take-off and the experience of leaving Earth's atmosphere, to the reality of living in the confines of a spaceship and the strange sensation of weightlessness, this is an adventure like no other.Suit up, strap in, and enjoy the ride!
Publisher's Weekly Review
"Departure from Earth is an emotional experience," writes British astronomer Thompson as he leads a tour from the sun to the Oort Cloud, visiting each of the planets in turn. Beginning with a careful planning of routes, Thompson tackles the ins and outs of constructing a ship that will be protected from meteorites, solar flares, and cosmic rays. For each celestial object he visits, he presents a history of humans' understanding of it along with what is known of its physical makeup. Thompson allows readers to imagine walking on planetary and lunar surfaces using his "Reality Suspension Unit," though he discourages travelers from exploring the gas giants, which lack hard surfaces. Interesting factoids abound: Mars takes its red hue from the powdered rust coating its surface, and water tanks can be refilled on the Jovian moon Europa. Thompson also considers the psychological effects of years in space, the emotional need for fresh food, and how to have sex in zero gravity. Images of scenic wonders, including the ammonia volcanos of Titan with their close-up view of Saturn's rings, make one long for a means of interplanetary travel. Thompson's clear explanations and effusive delivery make this book a perfect companion for armchair voyagers. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
New York Review of Books Review
Astronauts typically spend weeks at most in space and reach altitudes of just a few hundred miles. In "A Space Traveler's Guide to the Solar System," Thompson, an astronomer, takes readers on a grander journey - a hypothetical 50-year, multibillion-mile rocket tour of every planetoid and moon between the sun and Pluto. Like any good guidebook, this one highlights some overlooked gems in our neck of the cosmos. Mercury rotates so slowly that the sun often appears to stop in the sky and reverse course. The weather on Uranus might include "diamond rain" that collects in a "diamond ocean." Even overrated sites will still wow you. Mars's Olympus Mons - the "tallest volcano in the solar system," a mountain the size of Arizona - is actually too big to appreciate with the naked eye. It slopes upward so gradually that it curves beyond the horizon, and you can't see the summit from the base. Thompson also includes several nice asides about the biology and psychology of long-term spaceflight, including aspects of sex in zero gravity. We might titter over details like the proposed 2Suit, which would prevent couples in the million-mile-high club from floating apart. But we do need to research coitus in outer space if we hope to colonize distant planets someday. Especially at the beginning, "A Space Traveler's Guide to the Solar System" sometimes gets mired in details. You can't fault Thompson's enthusiasm for propulsion systems and axes of rotation - he loves geeking out - but these passages lack immediacy. Still, once we're off and sailing, he steers readers on a heavenly course.
Library Journal Review
Astronomer Thompson takes us on an imagined spaceship trip around our cosmic neighborhood, describing how such a voyage could be planned using only the technology that exists today. As readers visit the sun, its planets and their satellites, and the assorted other objects that orbit it, they learn what it would be like if humans could descend to the surface of each in turn. Whereas a few decades ago, knowledge of these areas was discerned using earthbound telescopes, today, observations by the Hubble telescope, space probe flybys, and the number-crunching capabilities of modern computers used to analyze mountains of data have vastly expanded our understanding. In particular, the book discusses the new theories of planetary formation and the discovery of systems around other stars. It offers suggestions of places where life has evolved and describes locations that could be colonized by humans in the future. Thompson further points out certain mysterious structures yet to be identified and offers possible explanations. VERDICT This excellent title should find a large readership among laypeople interested in astronomy and planetary science.-Harold D. Shane, Mathematics Emeritus, Baruch Coll. Lib., CUNY © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
|1 Flight Planning||p. 11|
|2 Goodbye Earth||p. 33|
|3 Into the Furnace||p. 57|
|4 The In-Hospitality Suite||p. 83|
|5 A Familiar World||p. 109|
|6 A Goliath Among Planets||p. 141|
|7 The jewel of the Solar System||p. 167|
|8 Icy Outposts||p. 195|
|9 Into the Abyss||p. 221|