Space Exploration: A History in 100 Objects

Sten Odenwald. The Experiment, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-61519-614-2
Astrophysicist Odenwald (Astrophysics in a Nutshell) surveys the history of space exploration in a captivating catalogue of artifacts and inventions. The 100 items depicted through colorful photos and concise explanations are “the workhorse tools and game-changing technologies” that have steered humanity to the stars, says Odenwald. They range from a 70,000-year-old etched stone artifact that bears the first known human drawing, and thus might be considered a “big bang of human ingenuity,” to the huge Event Horizon Telescope that, in 2019, generated the first image of a black hole. Elsewhere, Odenwald describes how meteorites delivered clues about the early solar system directly to the Earth, before advances in electronics and rocketry gave humanity the ability to leave the planet and begin exploring space. The earliest known lens, from 750 BCE, presaged the development of telescopes, from Galileo’s simple model to space-based leviathans like the Hubble and the exoplanet-hunting Kepler. Odenwald also includes everyday—yet, for space exploration, pivotal—items such as the slide rule, and novelties such as space food and Elon Musk’s orbiting Tesla Roadster. This resource is fun as well as informative, a lightweight encyclopedia of intriguing objects that will fascinate readers of any age. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 08/29/2019
Release date: 11/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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