Besides those ever-circling celebs, editors are also looking to the real stars for book projects lately. In a deal negotiated by agent Julie Castiglia, Broadway Books v-p and executive editor Charlie Conrad snapped up world rights to a book by Donna Shirley, the manager of the Mars Exploration Program who led the team that designed the Sojourner rover that is currently exploring Mars. Broadway plans hardcover publication of the book, which will chronicle popular motivational speaker and spokeswoman Shirley's entire career, for summer 1998 on the one-year anniversary of Sojourner's first trip to the red planet.

Over at Doubleday,, senior editor Bill Thomas has acquired the tentatively titled The Race, a history of space exploration to be written by James Schefter, who covered the space program for Time and Life. The author was repped by Dominick Abel, and his book is tentatively scheduled for July 1999, to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the first moon landing.

And earlier this spring, SMP editor Charlie Spicer acquired The Last Man on the Moon by Gene Cernan, whose career spanned the entire Apollo program and who, as commander of Apollo 17, was the last human being to leave a footprint on the moon. Most recently Cernan, who was represented by Jane Dystel and will write the book with Don Davis, served as spokesperson for NASA's new Saturn Exhibit at Cape Kennedy when it opened in January 1997. He will also be featured in a HBO series on Apollo coming at the end of this year, for which producer Tom Hanks personally scripted the Cernan segment. A 1998 publication is planned.