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Space chronicles : facing the ultimate frontier
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Neil deGrasse Tyson is a rare breed of astrophysicist, one who can speak as easily and brilliantly with popular audiences as with professional scientists. Now that NASA has put human space flight effectively on hold--with a five- or possibly ten-year delay until the next launch of astronauts from U.S. soil--Tyson's views on the future of space travel and America's role in that future are especially timely and urgent. This book represents the best of Tyson's commentary, including a candid new introductory essay on NASA and partisan politics, giving us an eye-opening manifesto on the importance of space exploration for America's economy, security, and morale. Thanks to Tyson's fresh voice and trademark humor, his insights are as delightful as they are provocative, on topics that range from the missteps that shaped our recent history of space travel to how aliens, if they existed, might go about finding us.

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A mass-media force in science explication, Tyson appears in print (Parade, New York Times, Natural History), on television (The Colbert Report, PBS programs), in social networks like Twitter, and at podiums to deliver speeches. Taken from those forums, his declamations during the past 15 years on NASA and American space policy are gathered in this volume. Enthusiastic about the space program but worried by its current doldrums, Tyson speaks squarely to an audience that might question its expense. Repeatedly batting away the complaint that social problems don't justify spending money on space, Tyson perseveres by citing NASA's miniscule share of the federal budget, pointing to technological spin-offs, and invoking planetary defense against rogue asteroids. Perhaps sensing popular indifference to such arguments, Tyson more generally tries to revive wonder about space in his pieces, taking up in how-cool-is-that manner such things as Lagrange points and plucky little spacecraft like Pioneer 10 and the Mars rovers. A genial advocate for the space program, Tyson offers diagnoses of its malaise that will resonate with its supporters.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Table of Contents
Editor's Notep. xiii
Prologue: Space Politicsp. 3
Part IWhy
1The Allure of Spacep. 21
2Exoplanet Earthp. 26
3Extraterrestrial Lifep. 33
4Evil Aliensp. 42
5Killer Asteroidsp. 45
6Destined for the Starsp. 55
7Why Explorep. 63
8The Anatomy of Wonderp. 64
9Happy Birthday NASAp. 66
10The Next Fifty Years in Spacep. 69
11Space Optionsp. 75
12Paths to Discoveryp. 84
Part IIHow
13To Flyp. 107
14Going Ballisticp. 113
15Race to Spacep. 121
162001-Fact vs. Fictionp. 128
17Launching the Right Stuffp. 130
18Things Are Looking Upp. 138
19For the Love of Hubblep. 140
20Happy Anniversary, Apollo 11p. 144
21How to Reach the Skyp. 152
22The Last Days of the Space Shuttlep. 160
23Propulsion for Deep Spacep. 163
24Balancing Actsp. 172
25Happy Anniversary, Star Trekp. 178
26How to Prove You've Been Abducted by Aliensp. 182
27The Future of US Space Travelp. 186
Part IIIWhy Not
28Space Travel Troublesp. 191
29Reaching for the Starsp. 199
30America and the Emergent Space Powersp. 203
31Delusions of Space Enthusiastsp. 213
32Perchance to Dreamp. 221
33By the Numbersp. 232
34Ode to Challenger, 1986p. 242
35Spacecraft Behaving Badlyp. 244
36What NASA Means to America's Futurep. 252
The Cosmic Perspectivep. 254
ANational Aeronautics and Space Act of 19 5 8, As Amendedp. 263
BSelected Statutory Provisions Applicable to NASAp. 293
CA Half Century of NASA Spending 1959-2010p. 331
DNASA Spending 1959-2010p. 333
ENASA Spending as a Percentage of US Federal Government Spending and of US GDP 1959-2010p. 335
FSpace Budgets: US Government Agencies 2010p. 337
GSpace Budget: Global 2010p. 339
HSpace Budgets: US and Non-US Governments 2010p. 341
Acknowledgmentsp. 343
Indexp. 345
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