MISSION JUPITER: The Spectacular Journey of the Galileo Space Probe

Daniel Fischer, Author , trans. from the German by Don Reneau. Springer-Verlag/Copernicus $32 (317p) ISBN 978-0-387-98764-4

As the award-winning editor of a German astronomy journal, Fischer (Hubble Revisited: New Images from the Discovery Machine; etc.) possesses the expertise needed for an overview of NASA's Galileo mission to Jupiter and its moons, though because the mission is still underway, it is too soon yet for a definitive summing up. NASA has reserved its rights to the story, with publication expected sometime in 2003. In the meantime, Fischer's readable account is one of the few book-length treatments available. To date, most of the published material on Galileo has appeared in professional and popular science journals, one recent exception being David Harland's Jupiter Odyssey, which, like Fischer's book, is published under an imprint of Springer-Verlag. Fischer, who has covered Jupiter exploration extensively in his magazine, writes for a popular audience, handily guiding the reader through the first Pioneer and Voyager probes of the 1970s, the five-year exploration of the Jovian system and the Jupiter flyby of the Cassini space probe, headed to Saturn for explorations beginning in 2004. Throughout, he provides handy summary boxes of findings and scores of illustrations—including more than 40 breathtaking full-color images of Jupiter, the volcanic landscape of the moon Io and, of course, the spectacular ice crusts of Europa. As an editor working in Germany (and in German), Fischer is reporting as an outsider to the American space program, which puts him at a disadvantage. But until Galileo's mission is completed and the histories and memoirs begin pouring out of NASA, this book will serve as a much-needed addition to the popular literature. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2001
Release date: 06/01/2001
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