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Tag Archives: Review

Review: The Design and Engineering of Curiosity

The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the Mars Rover Performs Its Job by Emily Lakdawalla Springer, 2018 paperback, 394 pp., illus. ISBN 978-3-319-68144-3 Later this month, NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will pass a milestone in its development known in the agency’s programmatic structure as Key Decision Point D, clearing the way for the mission to formally begin assembly, integration, ...

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Review: Bringing Columbia Home

Bringing Columbia Home: The Untold Story of a Lost Space Shuttle and Her Crew by Michael D. Leinbach and Jonathan H. Ward Arcade Publishing, 2018 hardcover, 400 pp., illus. ISBN 978-1-62872-851-4 The loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its seven-person crew on February 1, 2003, is arguably one of the pivotal moments in the history of NASA’s human spaceflight ...

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Review: Gemini Flies!

Gemini Flies! Unmanned Flights and the First Manned Mission by David J. Shayler Springer Praxis, 2018 paperback, 330 pp., illus. ISBN 978-3-319-68141-2 Gemini has long been considered by space aficionados as the overlooked aspect of NASA’s early human spaceflight programs. It didn’t have the historic firsts of the Mercury program, nor the historic accomplishments of Apollo. Yet, the Gemini program ...

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Review: Losing the Nobel Prize

by Jeff Foust Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science’s Highest Honor By Brian Keating W.W. Norton and Co., 2018 hardcover, 352 pp., illus. ISBN 978-1-324-00091-4 On March 17, 2014, astronomers and the media gathered at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics for what was billed as a major announcement. Analysis of data from ...

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Review: On Gravity

by Jeff Foust On Gravity: A Brief Tour of a Weighty Subject by A. Zee Princeton Univ. Press, 2018 hardcover, 192 pp., illus. ISBN 978-0-691-17438-9 Gravity can seem like a powerful force at times. It holds everything down and, here on Earth, makes it difficult to escape the planet and go into space. At its extreme, the gravitational force of ...

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Review: Catching Stardust

by Jeff Foust Catching Stardust: Comets, Asteroids and the Birth of the Solar System by Natalie Starkey Bloomsbury Sigma, 2018 hardcover, 256 pp., illus. ISBN 978-1-4729-4400-9 You could call this the summer of asteroids. The Japanese space agency JAXA’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft is currently just a few hundred kilometers away from asteroid Ryugu, moving ever closer on a mission that will ...

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Review: Into the Extreme

by Jeff Foust Into the Extreme: U.S. Environmental Systems and Politics beyond Earth by Valerie Olson Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2018 paperback, 304 pp., illus. ISBN 978-1-5179-0255-1 NASA, and its cadre of engineers and scientists, typically focus little on the sociological implications of their work. Their attention is on development and testing spacecraft and using data from them, and not ...

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Review: Light of the Stars

by Jeff Foust Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth by Adam Frank W.W. Norton, 2018 hardcover, 272 pp., illus. ISBN 978-0-393-60901-1 The most famous equation in astrobiology is something of a Rorschach test. The Drake Equation, developed more than a half-century ago, allows one to compute the number of intelligent civilizations in the galaxy ...

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Review: European Access to Space

by Jeff Foust European Access to Space: Business and Policy Perspectives on Micro Launchers by Matteo Tugnoli, Martin Sarret, and Marco Aliberti Springer, 2018 paperback, 99 pp., illus. ISBN 978-3-319-78959-0 The small launch vehicle field can seem like it’s dominated by American companies, or at least companies with an American presence. Virgin Orbit recently announced it has received the FAA ...

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Review: Gravitational Waves

by Jeff Foust Gravitational Waves: How Einstein’s Spacetime Ripples Reveal the Secrets of the Universe by Brian Clegg Icon Books Ltd., 2018 ebook, 176 pp., illus. For once, the term “multimessenger astronomy” didn’t refer to gravitational waves. Last week, astronomers used that term, which has become a buzzword in the field in the last few years, to describe a neutrino ...

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