The Penguin Book of Outer Space Exploration, edited and introduction by John Logsdon, foreword by Bill Nye, Penguin Classics, September 2018; Paperback $18.00: 400 pages.

John Logsdon is a noted space historian and this book reflects his preeminent status as a first-rate scholar. This volume is a treasure-trove of material, just in time for the 60th anniversary of NASA in October. But more importantly its collective pages are an avenue to reflection regarding the true trajectory today of pioneering the space frontier.

The book reminds the reader about the birthing of the Space Age, the Apollo reach for the Moon and a wealth of related issues that permeated those halcyon years of space progress.

In four chapters, the reader can dive into details of getting ready for space exploration; first steps that led to Neil Armstrong’s giant leap; as well as steps toward an uncertain future.

As Logsdon explains, there are many rationales for going into space, “ranging from scientific discovery, international competition, national security, national power, and national pride, to commercial profit and societal benefits.” All of these rationales the reader will find within the documents presented in the book. While the U.S. taking a visionary lead role in the exploration of space is front and center, “whether that vision persists in the twenty-first century is yet to be seen; I hope it does,” he states.

From Sputnik to SpaceX and the space directive espoused by President Donald Trump – it’s all here in this highly valuable compilation of documents.

Science Guy, Bill Nye, adds to this book through a nicely written foreword. In part, he underscores the purpose of the book – to show the future through study and understanding of space history…”a history that has to date unfolded in a few small steps,” he concludes.

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