Book Review: Incredible Stories From Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos by Nancy Atkinson; Page Street Publishing Co.; 2016; Cost: $19.99

Nancy Atkinson is a veteran space journalist – and this book demonstrates her unique talent in crafting stories regarding robotic exploration – be it unlocking the secrets of faraway Pluto to up-close focus on the Moon via the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The book offers behind-the-scene tales of dozens of scientists and engineers who have opened our solar system to discovery and surprising revelation. Spotlighted in this volume, accompanied by beautiful color imagery, are engaging looks at the New Horizons flyby of Pluto, the Curiosity Mars rover, the celestial looks by the Hubble Space Telescope; Kepler, the exo-planet scouting spacecraft; the Cassini-Huygens probing of Saturn; Dawn’s multi-world investigation; the Sun-watching Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, as well as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Each chapter serves up a well-written tale of how this select set of space missions has been transformative in our understanding of our solar system and surrounding universe. “As many space scientists have expressed,” Atkinson points out, “they never know what they’ll find and they’ve learned to expect the unexpected.”

Incredible Stories From Space also includes a look at upcoming missions yet to come, such as the James Webb Space Telescope and a mission to Jupiter’s moon, Europa. The book ends with an excellent epilogue dedicated to the topic of why explore space?

“Looking both outward and inward — and living life with a sense of wonder – can help us create a better world right now and build a better world for future generations,” the author concludes.

For those already familiar with her reporting skillfulness as contributing editor and writer for Universe Today, a popular space and astronomy news website, you’ll find this volume a treasure of insight.

For more information on this book, go to:

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