Archive for the ‘Space Book Reviews’ Category

Credit: NASA

 

Over a span of 20 years, the vision of an international orbiting outpost—one with continuous human presence, measuring the size of a football field, and orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes—became a reality.

The International Space Station (ISS) has been labeled an engineering miracle – a facility that also expresses vision, leadership, perseverance, political support, and funding.

The ISS enables world-class scientific research, forges pathfinders for future exploration travel, and unites 15 international partners working together with common goals to keep the ISS viable.

The ISS is part of NASA’s ongoing, deliberate, step-by-step approach for expanding the boundaries associated with human spaceflight exploration that will return humans to the Moon and eventually to inhabiting Mars.

A new NASA book – available for free as an e-book – is titled: The International Space Station: Operating an Outpost in the New Frontier. Robert Dempsey is the Executive Editor of this informative book.

International Space Station.
Credit: NASA

Real time, continuous

In the book’s preface, Dempsey explains: “This is an unusual book. Half the chapters are devoted to operations, meaning what we do in real time during a mission. For the International Space Station, real time is continuous 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. These chapters will describe different operational aspects of “flight control.” However to get the full context, the remaining chapters will provide technical descriptions of the primary space station systems. Although not strictly required to understand the operations, they are intended to provide more information for proper context.

Chapters include: Living and Working in Space and on the Ground; Debris Avoidance—Navigating the Occasionally Unfriendly Skies of Low-Earth Orbit; When Major Anomalies Occur; as well as Vital Visiting Vehicles—Keeping the Remote Outpost Crewed and Operating.

The 400-page book brings together the collective knowledge of the 10 space station flight directors who authored it, drawing on their combined 45,000 hours of experience at the helm of mission control. In addition to Dempsey, they are Dina Contella, David Korth, Michael Lammers, Courtenay McMillan, Emily Nelson, Royce Renfrew, Brian Smith, Scott Stover and Ed Van Cise.

This new NASA e-book is available at:

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/iss-operating_an_outpost-tagged.pdf

Credit: Bryan Versteeg

A new and excellent report has been issued by Explore Mars, Inc.

The Humans to Mars Report (H2MR) is an annual publication that presents a snapshot of current progress in mission architectures, science, domestic and international policy, human factors, and public perception regarding human missions to Mars – and highlights progress and challenges from year to year.

Credit: James Vaughan

Current facts

As explained by Chris Carberry, the group’s Chief Executive Officer and Artemis Westenberg, President, “H2MR provides stakeholders and policy makers with an invaluable resource to assist them in making decisions that are based on current facts rather than on the dated information and speculation that sometimes tends to persist in the public arena where Mars is concerned.”

While recently there has been some shift in emphasis in United States near-term space policy, by charting a return to the Moon, “the goal of human missions to Mars in the 2030s still maintains broad-based bi-partisan support, with unwavering support coming from NASA, Congress, and industry,” the report states.

Credit: Bryan Versteeg

Mars by 2033

“As always, through the publication of the Humans to Mars Report, Explore Mars is not discounting the prospect of human exploration of other destinations in the solar system. In fact, we embrace them, as long as they do not significantly delay human missions to Mars. We view Mars as a critical destination that will enable the exploration and development of space – and we firmly believe that humanity should set the goal of landing humans on the surface of Mars by 2033.”

To access this report, go to:

https://www.exploremars.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/H2MR_18_Web.pdf

Also, don’t forget to tune into the currently in progress Humans to Mars meeting in Washington, D.C. Go to the agenda at:

https://h2m.exploremars.org/

 

Credit: Center for Space Policy and Strategy

The Policy and Science of Rocket Emissions is a new space policy paper from The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy. Authors Martin Ross and James Vedda consider the effects of rocket emissions in the atmosphere—what is known, and what is not.

“Rocket emissions inherently impact the stratosphere in a way that no other industrial activity does. This is a fundamental aspect of placing payloads into space using chemical propulsion,” explains the report.

Rocket emissions have largely escaped the scrutiny of international regulatory bodies—but that can change at any time, the just issued paper explains. New policies and regulations could be prompted by a general shift in public perception, by an unintended connection to climate-engineering debates, and by a switch to new propellant types.

Credit: Center for Space Policy and Strategy

Effluent influences

As explained in the report, rockets directly inject combustion products (most importantly, particles) into the stratosphere—a particularly sensitive region that is home to the ozone layer. These emissions deplete the ozone and alter the radiative balance of the atmosphere, the authors say. As a result, they contribute to the complex interactions that determine global climate.

Although the effects are still minor compared with other ozone and climate influences, they could assume much greater significance in the years ahead, with launch rates expected to increase dramatically.

Take a read of this new, important paper at:

http://aerospace.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/RocketEmissions.pdf

Credit: Archway Publishing

The Outsider’s Guide to UFOs by James T. Abbott, Archway Publishing, Bloomington, Indiana; December 2017; 370 pages, Softcover(B/W), $22.99.

Author James Abbott has taken an impartial look at the baffling and bewildering phenomenon – Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). The volume is a good read with the author taking on core questions that surround and cloud the UFO field. Are they hoaxes, figments of the imagination, or real?

Abbott is an experienced researcher who has spent years studying this timeless debate as an outsider. “UFOs may or may not be of this Earth and time,” he explains, “but the huge job of trying to nail them down is incredibly fascinating.”

Through 19 informative chapters, Abbott notes early UFO sightings, government investigations, mass sightings, and also outlines what skeptics say and points to possible explanations for UFOs. The volume outlines 40 of the most significant UFO cases, as well as over a dozen strange UFO characteristics.

Courtesy: James T. Abbott

I found the book’s last chapter – “The Way Forward” – particularly compelling. As Abbott concludes, the UFO field is full of theories and conjectures. “Are they unknown atmospheric and electromagnetic phenomena, little-understood social or psychological forces, extraterrestrial visitors, interdimensional tourists, fantastic mental projections? Who knows…yet?”

For those of us that have followed the case for UFOs, or lack of a case, believer or non-believer, the reader will find this book a fruitful, thought provoking read.

For more information on this book, also available as a casebound hardcover or E-Book. go to:

https://www.archwaypublishing.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001136570

Credit: CSIS

 

A discussion with Christian Davenport, author of The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos.

This event was held on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, staged by The Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.

Credit: PublicAffairs

Billionaire entrepreneurs

The Space Barons is the story of a group of billionaire entrepreneurs who are pouring their fortunes into the epic resurrection of the American space program.

Nearly a half-century after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, these Space Barons-most notably Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, along with Richard Branson and Paul Allen-are using Silicon Valley-style innovation to dramatically lower the cost of space travel, and send humans even further than NASA has gone.

Space entrepreneur, Jeff Bezos.
Credit: Blue Origin

Biggest disruption

These entrepreneurs have founded some of the biggest brands in the world-Amazon, Microsoft, Virgin, Tesla, PayPal-and upended industry after industry. Now they are pursuing the biggest disruption of all: space.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic takes flight. Will public space travel?
Credit: Virgin Galactic

Based on years of reporting and exclusive interviews with all four billionaires, this authoritative account is a dramatic tale of risk and high adventure, the birth of a new Space Age, fueled by some of the world’s richest men as they struggle to end governments’ monopoly on the cosmos.

SpaceX’s Elon Musk has a visionary space agenda for Mars.
Credit: Rob Varnas

Hard-charging startups

The Space Barons is also a story of rivalry-hard-charging startups warring with established contractors, and the personal clashes of the leaders of this new space movement, particularly Musk and Bezos, as they aim for the moon and Mars and beyond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To watch this informative interview with author Christian Davenport, conducted by Todd Harrison, Director, Defense Budget Analysis, Director, Aerospace Security Project and Senior Fellow, International Security Program, go to:

https://youtu.be/kgaG4od405k

Credit: PublicAffairs

The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos by Christian Davenport, PublicAffairs, New York 2018; 320 pages, hardcover, $28.00.

Christian Davenport is a staff writer at the Washington Post covering the space and defense industries for the financial desk, joining the Post in 2000.

You’ll find a very enjoyable, behind-the-scenes look at the well-heeled, big-buck billionaire entrepreneurs who are reshaping the commercial space program. Space Barons, of the likes of Elon Musk of SpaceX and Amazon.com leader, Jeff Bezos, along with Richard Branson and Paul Allen-are taking innovative tactics to reshape and rekindle private space activities.

Davenport has used his sharp-eyed, journalistic talents to tell a compelling story about a “new Space Age” – one that is being propelled by the dollars of the world’s richest people to curb governmental monopoly of utilizing space. The volume also portrays the rivalry between space startups, as well as how they are upsetting the established aerospace community: old space, versus new space.

As the author notes, “Musk, the brash hare, was blazing a trail for others to follow, while Bezos, the secretive and slow tortoise, who was content to take it step by step in a race that was only just beginning.”

The book is divided into three parts, including a tell-all timeline that runs from September 2000 to September 2017 showing the growth of entrepreneurial space progress – and failure. In the book’s notes section you’ll also find useful resources for each part of the book.

This is a must-read volume that is not only well-written but offers a treasure-trove of facts that underscore the trans-formative times we live in…as private sector space reshapes low Earth orbit, a return to the Moon, planting humans on Mars and setting sail for destinations beyond.

For more information about this book, go to:

https://www.publicaffairsbooks.com/titles/christian-davenport/the-space-barons/9781610398299/

Special bonus!

Wednesday, April 4, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm Eastern Time

The Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) invites you to a discussion with Christian Davenport speaking on The Quest to Colonize the Cosmos: How Billionaires are Changing the Space Industry.

The event is being held at CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C. and will be available via webcast live from this page:

https://www.csis.org/events/quest-colonize-cosmos-how-billionaires-are-changing-space-industry

Credit: Jack Schmitt

 

 

Now available as the third installment of Apollo 17 astronaut and geologist, Jack Schmitt’s Apollo 17: Diary of the 12th Man.

The new addition is Chapter 9, “The 12th Man”, with other chapters to follow.

Challenger at Taurus-Littrow.
Credit: NASA

This chapter chronicles the moments after touchdown in December 1972 of the Challenger Lunar Module in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow; safing the spacecraft systems and preparing it for an extended stay; the first views of the surface from the windows; donning the space suits; and Schmitt’s recounting of becoming the 12th man to step out onto the lunar surface.

Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on the Moon on July 20, 1969, followed by Buzz Aldrin, Pete Conrad, Alan Bean, Al Shepherd, Ed Mitchell, Dave Scott, Jim Irwin, John Young, Charlie Duke, and, number 11, Gene Cernan.

To view Schmitt’s new chapter, Go to:

https://www.americasuncommonsense.com

Note: As with the previous installments, the chapter will be accessible from three areas of the website: On the main home page as a “Post” until replaced by the next installment; in the right sidebar under the listing “Recent Posts”; and in the right upper sidebar under the “Pages” heading “1. Apollo17: Diary of the 12th Man” as each chapter is uploaded. The new addition is Chapter 9, “The 12th Man.”

Special thanks to Ronald A. Wells, PI, Tranquillity Enterprises. (Latin cognate!)

The Earth Gazers: On Seeing Ourselves by Christopher Potter, Pegasus Books, 2018; 400 pages; $28.95 hardcover.

This is a very readable and enjoyable volume, one that provides an appealing perspective concerning those space travelers who peered through windows to take in the view of Earth from the vacuum void.

Divided into three parts, the book’s chapters take the reader on a historical arc, anchored with details about visionary aerospace pioneers, Charles Lindbergh, Robert Goddard and Wernher von Braun, then underscores the pioneering Apollo astronauts and the resulting impact on humankind.

We are reminded in the book of astronomer Fred Hoyle’s prescient thought in 1948: “Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from the outside, is available…a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.”

What I found enlightening is Potter’s coverage of atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair. It was O’Hair that filed a lawsuit with NASA in regard to the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis as they circled the Moon. The case was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court for lack of jurisdiction.

In many ways, this book is a wakeup and recall call, perhaps underscored by the author’s dedication of the volume: “To my father, who woke me up to watch the first moonwalk. I wish I had shown more enthusiasm at the time.”

Potter himself, toward the book’s end, comes to grips with the call of space exploration. “There is something utopian about all our visions of space exploration, and something both dispiriting and fantastical about the motivation for space travel that tells us that we must find another home because we will at some point have to give up this one…”

The reader will find a sizable, descriptive helping of past space exploits and the history behind them, and more to the point, how these transcendent experiences have helped shape the space sagas yet to play out.

For more information about this book, go to:

http://www.pegasusbooks.com/books/the-earth-gazers-9781681776361-hardcover

 

 

I am very excited to learn that my book – Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet – will be available in Chinese and published there in July of 2018.

The volume has already been translated into Portuguese, Greek, German, Japanese, Italian and Dutch.

 

International outreach

Here are some links for our international readers to my book Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet in these languages:

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The book is also available in Greek. We will post that direct link when we have it.
If you want to read these international websites in English, your browser should have a clickable link to translate them for you.

TV series

As the companion book to the televised season 2 of Mars on the National Geographic Channel, take a look at the upcoming six-episode season of the National Geographic global sci-fi hybrid scripted/unscripted series slated to premiere in the spring of 2018 here:

http://ew.com/tv/2017/11/07/mars-season-2-exclusive-clip

There are special holiday prices for the book via National Geographic by going to:

https://shop.nationalgeographic.com/product/space-collection/mars

 

 

 

 

National Geographic’s online shop has lots of holiday discount specials, including my book, MARS: OUR FUTURE ON THE RED PLANET.

Also, stay tuned in 2018 for season 2 of Mars on the National Geographic channel.

 

For a sneak peek at all things Mars that requires further investigation and consideration, go to:

https://shop.nationalgeographic.com/product/space-collection/mars

Or try this link –

https://shop.nationalgeographic.com

and search for the book – “Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet”

As I post this, it’s selling for $21 on their site, rather than the cover price of $30. That’s about the same price as on Amazon.com – or support your local book store who might have specials too.

Thanks for your inquires and interest!
~ Leonard David

Griffith Observatory Event