Beyond: Our Future in Space

Chris Impey. Norton, $27.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-393-23930-0
As governments debate the value of funding space science, Impey (Humble Before the Void) delivers a timely book covering a wealth of reasons to care about space and what we could accomplish there if we accept the challenge. The “profound human urge to explore” is in our genes, Impey says. Rockets provide a way to escape Earth, but the Cold War “Space Race” between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. highlighted the struggle to balance funding—as well as competing motivations—between military and civilian space science, which has left NASA in its current “doldrums.” Currently, private space companies such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic offer potential new routes off Earth, while others explore ways to settle “[the] Moon, Mars, and beyond”—though Impey cautions the reader about the inherent risks, particularly that “people are going to die.” Space travelers will face long-term biological troubles, including bone loss, weakened immune systems, and genetic isolation. They’ll also confront questions of identity, diplomacy, and ownership, especially as more nations and businesses enter space. With vivid writing that skillfully walks the line between visionary and pragmatic, Impey finds equal opportunity for both humans and robotic explorers on a journey that could not only teach us about new worlds, but “how to be better caretakers of this one.” Illus. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/16/2015
Release date: 04/01/2015
MP3 CD - 978-1-5012-0049-6
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