Children's LiteratureRemarkable advances in basic science over the past 100 years yield an increasing array of technology on the cutting edge today. Achievements like powerful telescopes reveal wonders imagined by few in the past. This book in "The Lucent Library of Science and Technology" series builds a good foundation of basic information for understanding some of the secrets hidden in the "velvet black canopy" of the heavens. For instance, lost amid the stars are billions of invisible objects that make up the solar system. These "mountains in the sky" are sometimes worlds of their own, while others are bits of debris left over from collisions that occurred eons ago. Asteroids consisting chiefly of metal and rock were undiscovered until modern times. By contrast, comets of ice and rock were known in ancient times because their cloudlike tails revealed movement visible by the naked eye. People believed comets were omens, or supernatural signs foretelling of impending disaster or ill fortune. Author Don Nardo does an admirable job in explaining much about the universe in language suited for the intended audience. He peaks interest with discussions of how humans will likely mine the planets, the Moon, asteroids and comets in the future and the impact of comets and asteroids striking the Earth. Nardo refers to such experts as astronomer Carl Sagan and British physicist Stephen Hawking and includes useful bibliographic material for study. The black and white photographs are adequate, but some color illustrations would add much to this examination of our amazing universe. 2004, Lucent Books, Ages 9 to 14.