Across the Airless Wilds: The Lunar Rover and the Triumph of the Final Moon Landings

Earl Swift. Custom House, $28.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-298653-5
Journalist Swift (Chesapeake Requiem) chronicles the work of the engineers, geologists, project managers, and astronauts who took lunar rovers to the moon in this detailed history. Rovers were a key development in space exploration, Swift writes, and they “redefined lunar exploration, space science, and NASA’s expectations of what could be achieved.” Swift describes the far-reaching vision of ex-Nazi Wernher von Braun, “the conceptual father of lunar mobility,” who foresaw the use of lunar vehicles in 1952, well before the start of the Space Race. He also tells of how the United States Geological Survey built testing grounds for the vehicles by using dynamite to create a cratered landscape similar to that of the moon, and surveys the impact rovers had on the final three Apollo missions: astronauts were able to conduct “real science, far from the safety of their lunar module” on “exploration[s] measured in miles, not minutes.” Though things starts slowly and the early sections are full of dry technicalities, the narrative picks up steam as the rovers are developed and sent into space (the depictions of lunar travels are a particular highlight). Space buffs will definitely want to check this one out. Agent: David Black, David Black Literary. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/07/2021
Release date: 07/06/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-298655-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-6650-9867-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-6650-9866-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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