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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!