Dreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration [NOOK Book]

Overview

Dreams of Other Worlds describes the unmanned space missions that have opened new windows on distant worlds. Spanning four decades of dramatic advances in astronomy and planetary science, this book tells the story of eleven iconic exploratory missions and how they have fundamentally transformed our scientific and cultural perspectives on the universe and our place in it.

The journey begins with the Viking and Mars Exploration Rover missions to Mars, which paint a startling ...

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Dreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration

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Overview

Dreams of Other Worlds describes the unmanned space missions that have opened new windows on distant worlds. Spanning four decades of dramatic advances in astronomy and planetary science, this book tells the story of eleven iconic exploratory missions and how they have fundamentally transformed our scientific and cultural perspectives on the universe and our place in it.

The journey begins with the Viking and Mars Exploration Rover missions to Mars, which paint a startling picture of a planet at the cusp of habitability. It then moves into the realm of the gas giants with the Voyager probes and Cassini's ongoing exploration of the moons of Saturn. The Stardust probe's dramatic round-trip encounter with a comet is brought vividly to life, as are the SOHO and Hipparcos missions to study the Sun and Milky Way. This stunningly illustrated book also explores how our view of the universe has been brought into sharp focus by NASA's great observatories--Spitzer, Chandra, and Hubble--and how the WMAP mission has provided rare glimpses of the dawn of creation.

Dreams of Other Worlds reveals how these unmanned exploratory missions have redefined what it means to be the temporary tenants of a small planet in a vast cosmos.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Winner of the 2013 Eugene E. Emme Award for Astronautical Literature, American Astronautical Society

"Dreams of Other Worlds synthesizes that knowledge as it has been derived from unmanned spacecraft in the half-century since NASA was founded in 1958. . . . One of the strengths of Dreams of Other Worlds is its discussion of how the data generated by any given mission continues to produce results long after the mission ends. . . . An account of a magnificent panorama of knowledge."—Konstantin Kakaes, Wall Street Journal

"Refreshing. . . . [W]ell-analysed and presented in a scholarly yet engaging way. . . . [F]rom the interior of the Sun to the outer reaches of our Solar System—Impey and Henry are able guides. They explain the scientific imperative of these missions in a way that is accessible and interesting to specialists and generalists."—John Zarnecki, Nature

"Although less sexy than manned space travel, satellites, probes and landers have produced a scientific bonanza with more to come. Impey and Henry team up for an enthusiastic account of a dozen programs. . . . The authors' largely uncritical, gee-whiz approach is entirely appropriate since these programs were not only technological marvels, but produced dazzling, quantum-leap discoveries."Kirkus Reviews

"[W]ell-balanced. . . . This richly illustrated work of remarkable scholarship spans the depths of the solar system, the Milky Way, and beyond, revealing how the great leaps forward in astronomy have brought into focus a landscape few could have imagined. The authors present a combination of hard science and edifying narrative that is both informative and entertaining. Recommended for NASA 'nerds' and anyone with even a passing interest in astronomy."Library Journal

"Packed with absorbing insights and written in an accessible voice, this volume translates scientific discoveries into simple, visual terms. . . . Diverse references—ranging from the caves at Lascaux and Pythagoras to Einstein, Carl Sagan, quantum mechanics, and, yes, even Virginia Woolf—enliven and enrich this engaging and beautifully crafted book."—Kristen Rabe, ForeWord Reviews

"The book helps provide a bigger picture of the significance of studying the universe with these robotic explorers, be they spacecraft that remain in Earth orbit or, like Voyager 1, head out into the cosmos."—Jeff Foust, Space Review

"[A] riveting read. . . . The book is well told, and interweaves its story with wonderful little nuggets."—Katia Moskvitch, BBC Sky at Night

"Dreams of Other Worlds is a substantial chronology of the exploration of the solar system objects that humans have wondered about ever since Galileo first pointed his telescope at Jupiter and peered through it. The undertaking spotlights all the struggles and setbacks that ultimately led to a complete mapping of the solar system."—D. Wayne Dworsky, San Francisco Book Review

"Noted astronomer Impey has teamed up with English professor Henry to write an interesting book about NASA's unmanned space explorations. . . . People with an interest in space exploration will want to read this fascinating work."Choice

Library Journal
In the early years of the scientific revolution, Galileo used his innovative telescope to study the surface of Earth's moon and reveal the moons of Jupiter. But in recent decades, NASA and its international partners have gone well beyond the reach of Galileo's spyglass and in the process have revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos. In this well-balanced survey of unmanned heavenly exploration, Impey (Univ. Distinguished Professor, astronomy, Univ. of Arizona; The Living Cosmos) and Henry (English, California State Univ., San Bernardino; Virginia Woolf and the Discourse of Science) tackle 12 "iconic" space missions that have "opened new windows onto distant worlds" over the past 30 years. These missions, including the Viking missions to Mars, the Voyager space probes, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, have prompted a cultural reimagining of the far reaches of space and brought us scores of striking images such as Hubble's 1995 picture of the Eagle Nebula. VERDICT This richly illustrated work of remarkable scholarship spans the depths of the solar system, the Milky Way, and beyond, revealing how the great leaps forward in astronomy have brought into focus a landscape few could have imagined. The authors present a combination of hard science and edifying narrative that is both informative and entertaining. Recommended for both NASA "nerds" and anyone with even a passing interest in astronomy.—Brian Odom, Birmingham, AL
Kirkus Reviews
2013-08-15
Although less sexy than manned space travel, satellites, probes and landers have produced a scientific bonanza with more to come. Impey (Astronomy/Univ. of Arizona; How It Began: A Time-Traveler's Guide to the Universe, 2012, etc.) and Henry (English/California State Univ., San Bernardino; Virginia Woolf and the Discourse of Science: The Aesthetics of Astronomy, 2003) team up for an enthusiastic account of a dozen programs. When the technologically primitive, glitch-prone Mariner 4 flew past Mars in 1965, sending back 21 grainy black-and-white photographs, the world exulted. Within a decade, two Viking landers settled on Mars, sending back far superior pictures and some unsettling news: Maybe there is life beyond Earth, but maybe not. Two Voyager craft, 35 years after their launch, are still returning data from far outside the solar system after passing close to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Probes have visited comets, gathered their dust and returned to Earth. Readers aware that that the Hubble telescope produces vastly sharper pictures than terrestrial observatories will learn that other space telescopes named Spitzer, Chandra and Wilkinson produce even better images due to their increased sensitivity to infrared, X-ray and microwave radiation blocked by the atmosphere. Countless readers are fascinated by the existence of planets around distant stars; the sprinkling turned up by Earth-based telescopes turned into an avalanche with the 2009 launch of the Kepler satellite. Few deny that manned space exploration is inevitable and that a great nation must lead the way; however, since Congress is unwilling to foot the bill, that great nation is likely to be China. The authors' largely uncritical, gee-whiz approach is entirely appropriate since these programs were not only technological marvels, but produced dazzling, quantum-leap discoveries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400848812
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 9/8/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Course Book
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 1,377,999
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Chris Impey is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. His books include "The Living Cosmos", "How It Ends", and "How It Began". Holly Henry is professor of English at California State University, San Bernardino. She is the author of "Virginia Woolf and the Discourse of Science: The Aesthetics of Astronomy".
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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Viking: Discovering the Red Planet 13
3 MER: The Little Rovers That Could 40
4 Voyager: Grand Tour of the Solar System 74
5 Cassini: Bright Rings and Icy Worlds 111
6 Stardust: Catching a Comet by the Tail 137
7 SOHO: Living with a Restless Star 161
8 Hipparcos: Mapping the Milky Way 186
9 Spitzer: Unveiling the Cool Cosmos 211
10 Chandra: Exploring the Violent Cosmos 242
11 HST: The Universe in Sharp Focus 270
12 WMAP: Mapping the Infant Universe 302
13 Conclusion: New Horizons, New Worlds 327
Notes 343
Selected Bibliography 405
Index 417
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 20, 2013

    Are you a space enthusiast? If you are, then this book is for yo

    Are you a space enthusiast? If you are, then this book is for you. Authors Chris Impey and Holly Henry, have written an outstanding book that captures the story in detail of unmanned space exploration and discoveries over the past forty years.




    The authors begin by taking a close look at the Viking landers that touched down on Mars on July 20, 1976. Next, they cover the two rovers: Spirit and Opportunity, which have been exploring Mars since their landing on January 3, 2004. Then, the authors track the two most distant human artifacts: Voyager 1 and 2, as they sail out of our solar system into the void of space. In addition, they examine a six-ton spacecraft called Cassini, which was launched in October 1997, to begin its billion-mile journey to explore Saturn and its rings. Also, the authors visualize how the Stardust spacecraft (which was launched on February 7, 1999) captured material from comet Wild 2, in the most ambitious NASA mission ever undertaken. They continue, by showing you how the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft (which was launched on December 2, 1995) measures the location, intensity, and spectrum of either high-energy X-ray and ultraviolet radiation or cosmic rays. Next, the authors discuss how the Hipparcos mission can be used as a tool to help astronomers map plausible sites for extraterrestrial life; as well as, accurately map the location, velocity, and vector of stars in our galaxy, so that we can understand the age and morphology of the Milky Way; how our galaxy has evolved in the past; and, what the future holds for our Solar System and the galaxy. Then, they examine NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, and its remarkable ability to see through interstellar dust; and, into the vast clouds in which stars are born, like those of the Orion Nebula (our nearest star-forming region). In addition, the authors explain how the Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO) has helped X-ray astronomers gain several orders of magnitude of sensitivity, and the ability to make images as sharp as a medium-size optical telescope. Also, they discuss how the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has contributed to the identification of exoplanets, the dark energy that permeates the universe, and massive black holes that lurk in nearby galaxies. The authors continue by showing you how the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotrophy Probe (WMAP) was conceived as a way of pushing to a new level of precision and a new set of tests of the big bang theory. Finally, they discuss the near future, and the efforts to measure the realms of the universe that are currently at the edge of our vision.




    This excellent book explores how our concepts of distant worlds have been shaped and informed by space science and astronomy in the past forty years. Rather, this great book is an exploration of twelve iconic space missions that have opened new windows onto distant worlds.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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