Catching Stardust: Comets, Asteroids, and the Birth of the Solar System

Natalie Starkey. Bloomsbury, $27 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4729-4400-9
Geologist Starkey expertly details the current understanding of comets and asteroids, and how they function as snapshots of the universe at an earlier point in time, thereby providing insight into such areas as the formation of the solar system and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Starkey begins with an explanation of how these objects are formed, classified, and studied, and how scientists use the information obtained from them. This background allows for a fuller appreciation of the ingenuity and value of the NASA Stardust, ESA (European Space Agency) Rosetta, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Hayabusa space-probes, discussed at length. In addition to these recent fact-finding missions, all of which Starkey was involved with, she discusses how a wide range of topics, from the motion of planets to the composition of cosmic dust, relate to the study of comets and asteroids, and concludes with how these studies might aid humanity should Earth collide with an extraterrestrial object. Throughout, Starkey’s explanations of scientific terms and concepts are generally clear and understandable, aided by a useful glossary. The book provides an informative and valuable introduction to the field, from an author clearly knowledgeable and passionate about her work. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2018
Release date: 06/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-9786-3557-9
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-4729-4401-6
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4729-4403-0
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