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Beyond : our future in space
2015
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Summary

With plans to launch hotels into orbit and experiments in suspending and reanimating life for ultra-long-distance travel, private companies and entrepreneurs have outpaced NASA as the leaders in the new space race. With accessible prose and relentless curiosity, Chris Impey reports on China's plan to launch its own space station by 2020, proves that humans could survive on Mars and unveils cutting-edge innovations such as the space elevators poised to replace rockets at a fraction of the cost. Setting mankind's urge towards exploration in the context of all human history and space travel thus far, he shows that the present-day scientists mapping billions of Earth-like exo-planets are the descendants of the first humans to venture out of Africa. We must forge ahead, argues Beyond, because exploration is in our DNA.

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During the Wild West days of frontier expansion, statesmen would often talk about manifest destiny and the inevitability of the U.S. stretching from coast to coast. In this rousing and compellingly readable look at the past, present, and future of space exploration, University of Arizona astronomy professor Impey talks about another kind of manifest destiny, arguing that it's part of our human DNA to relentlessly reach beyond our home planet and out to the stars. In four sections, titled Prelude, Present, Future, and Beyond, Impey traces this wanderlust from a past involving rocket building to today's world of such space entrepreneurs as Richard Branson, then explores the likely outcome decades hence of today's technological innovations. A few of the tantalizing possibilities include superstrong space elevators, colonies on the moon and Mars, asteroid mining, and interstellar spacecraft powered by solar sails. Impey's work will appeal to the usual space buffs as well as sf fans looking for an entertaining and informative peek into the future that's also grounded in plausible science.--Hays, Carl Copyright 2015 Booklist
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