Final Frontier: The Pioneering Science and Technology of Exploring the Universe

Brian Clegg. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-03943-9
British science writer Clegg (Extra Sensory) reveals the technological and social challenges we must deal with in order to launch ourselves farther into the universe. Throughout history, explorers have sought knowledge, riches, and new lands to claim, but Clegg warns that this final frontier will demand far more of us than any previous exploration. Humans will need to develop more efficient technologies for everything from getting out of Earth’s gravity well to turning space-based resources into building materials, fuel, water, and breathable air. We’ll also need to create—and sustain—long-term political and social interests in space exploration to ensure the funding that can make it a reality. Clegg offers potential ways to make exploration “pay,” including space tourism, mining, and Mars One, a reality TV show-based scheme to get humans on Mars—an idea that’s equally disturbing and tantalizing. Clegg sets his book apart from others through his thoughtful survey of fictional space exploration in books, films, and television, providing examples of adaptations and threats—both social and technological—that we’d face in space. Covering a wide range of topics from space elevators and solar sails to space arks and hardscrabble “frontier” colonies, Clegg offers readers much to think about. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/26/2014
Release date: 08/19/2014
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