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Space Exploration For Dummies

ISBN: 978-0-470-44573-0
392 pages
June 2009
Space Exploration For Dummies (0470445734) cover image

Your comprehensive guide to remarkable achievements in space

Do you long to explore the universe? This plain-English, fully illustrated guide explains the great discoveries and advancements in space exploration throughout history, from early astronomers to the International Space Station. You'll learn about the first satellites, rockets, and people in space; explore space programs around the world; and ponder the controversial question: Why continue to explore space?

  • Take a quick tour of astronomy — get to know the solar system and our place in the galaxy, take a crash course in rocket science, and live a day in the life of an astronaut
  • Run the Great Space Race — trace the growth of the Space Age from Sputnik to the Apollo moon landings and meet the robots that explored the cosmos

  • Watch as space exploration matures — from the birth of the Space Shuttle to the creation of the Mir Space Station to successes and failures in Mars exploration, see how space programs reached new levels

  • Journey among the planets — check out the discoveries made during historic voyages to the inner and outer reaches of the solar system

  • Understand current exploration — review the telescopes in space, take a tour of the International Space Station, and see the latest sights on Mars

  • Look into the future — learn about upcoming space missions and increased access to space travel

Open the book and find:

  • Descriptions of space milestones and future missions
  • An easy-to-follow chronological structure

  • Color and black-and-white photos

  • The nitty-gritty details of becoming an astronaut

  • A grand tour of the solar system through space missions

  • Explanations of tragedies and narrow escapes

  • Facts on the creation of space stations by NASA and the USSR

  • Ten places to look for life beyond Earth

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Part I: Space Exploration: Where, Who, and How.

Chapter 1: Space Exploration in a Nutshell.

Chapter 2: A Tour of the Universe.

Chapter 3: Yes, It’s Rocket (And Spacecraft) Science After All.

Chapter 4: The Life and Times of an Astronaut.

Chapter 5: Tragedies in Space.

Part II: The Great Space Race.

Chapter 6: A Small Beeping Sphere and the Dawn of the Space Age.

Chapter 7: What a Ride! The First People in Space.

Chapter 8: Sending Robots to the Moon.

Chapter 9: Man on the Moon: Project Apollo.

Chapter 10: Continued Lunar Exploration after Apollo 11.

Chapter 11: Going on a Grand Tour of the Solar System.

Chapter 12: The First Space Stations and the End of the Space Race.

Part III: Second-Generation Missions.

Chapter 13: The Space Shuttle and Mir Space Station: The Dawn of Modern Space Exploration.

Chapter 14 : Prime Time for the Space Shuttle: From the 1980s into the 21st Century.

Chapter 15: Revenge of the Red Planet: Successes and Failures in Mars Exploration.

Chapter 16: Exploring the Inner Solar System.

Chapter 17: Voyages to the Outer Solar System.

Part IV: Current Space Exploration.

Chapter 18: What a View! Telescopes in Space.

Chapter 19: A Symbol of Global Cooperation: The International Space Station.

Chapter 20: New Views of Mars in the New Millennium.

Part V: The Future of Space Exploration.

Chapter 21: More in Store: Upcoming Space Missions.

Chapter 22: Increasing Access to Space.

Chapter 23: Why Continue to Explore Space?

Part VI: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 24: Ten Places to Look for Life beyond Earth.

Chapter 25: Ten Ways Space Travel Isn’t Like Television or the Movies.

Chapter 26: Ten Types of Everyday Items Brought to You Courtesy of NASA.


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Cynthia Phillips, PhD, and Shana Priwer are the coauthors of 14 books on subjects including astronomy, Einstein, da Vinci, the physics of the built environment, and a variety of other topics. Phillips works at the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe at the SETI Institute. Priwer works for an architectural/design software company.

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July 05, 2011
Space Exploration For Dummies® Guides Students and “Armchair Astronauts” through Astronomy, Rocket Science, and Planetary Geology

It was only a few years ago when NASA celebrated its 50th anniversary. Last week, we watched another milestone - on July 8, the agency launched the last space shuttle mission ever! For those following space shuttle Atlantis' final mission, Space Exploration For Dummies® (Wiley Publishing, Inc.; 978-0-470-44573-0; June 2009) is a staightforward guide to the facts and information surrounding man's exploration of space and the scientific discoveries and advancements that space exploration has brought us.

Written by Cynthia Phillips, PhD, a scientist at the SETI Institute, and professional writer Shana Priwer, Space Exploration For Dummies takes readers on a guided tour of our solar system and gives them a glimpse of what lies beyond. The book explains the most important details of astronomy, rocket science, and planetary geology without being overly technical or providing unnecessary details. 

The book provides information on international space initiatives such as the Space Station and Cassini Huygens probe. Is it time for human habitation of space? Phillips and Priwer take a big-picture view, presenting past missions and their historical significance, with a full international component and discussions of the future of space exploration.

The book includes interesting historical tidbits about lesser-known missions, with particularly strong coverage of space race-era missions from the former Soviet Union as well as current missions by the European Space Agency, Japan, India, China, and others. Readers will find interesting information not only on only human exploration but also robotic exploration, focusing on the big-picture goals accomplished by these incremental missions. All with technical details, amusing anecdotes, and humorous asides!

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