Mankind Beyond Earth: The History, Science, and Future of Human Space Exploration

Mankind Beyond Earth: The History, Science, and Future of Human Space Exploration

by Claude A. Piantadosi
     
 

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Seeking to reenergize Americans' passion for the space program, the value of the Moon, and the importance of people in the final frontier, Claude A. Piantadosi presents a rich history of American space exploration and its extraordinary achievements. He emphasizes the importance of continuing manned and unmanned space missions to American and human interests, and he

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Overview

Seeking to reenergize Americans' passion for the space program, the value of the Moon, and the importance of people in the final frontier, Claude A. Piantadosi presents a rich history of American space exploration and its extraordinary achievements. He emphasizes the importance of continuing manned and unmanned space missions to American and human interests, and he stresses the many adventures that still await us in the unfolding universe. Remaining cognizant of space exploration's practical and financial obstacles, Piantadosi nevertheless challenges us to revitalize our leadership in space and reap its vast scientific bounty.

Along with being a captivating story of ambition, invention, and discovery, Piantadosi's history explains why space exploration is increasingly difficult and why space experts always seem to disagree. He argues that the future of the space program requires merging the practicalities of exploration with the constraints of human biology. Space science deals with the unknown, and the margin (and budget) for error is small. Lethal near-vacuum conditions, deadly cosmic radiation, microgravity, vast distances, and highly scattered resources remain immense physical problems. To be competitive, America needs to develop affordable space transportation and flexible exploration strategies grounded in sound science. Piantadosi closes with suggestions for accomplishing these goals, combining his skepticism as a scientist with an unshakable belief in space's untapped — and wholly worthwhile — potential.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

This nicely written volume will appeal to the general public and space enthusiasts who want to learn about the hazards of human space exploration.

Bruce D. Butler

A whole generation has grown up with tales of the glory of man's excursion into space, and this fact-filled and stimulating book ties the story together and extends it to further exploration of the Moon again and Mars.

Jay C. Buckey

Mankind Beyond Earth offers a wide-ranging analysis of the challenges facing human space exploration. Using examples from polar expeditions, aviation history, undersea voyages, and space missions, Dr. Claude Piantadosi shows that exploration is unforgiving to those who fail to plan. Dr. Piantadosi details the barriers that must be surmounted for humans to leave Earth for long voyages. He supports his case with information from diverse disciplines, including microbiology, radiation physics, botany, astronomy, and physiology. He also makes a strong argument for the United States to refocus on exploring the Moon and to use Moon exploration both for scientific discovery and as preparation for longer trips to Mars.

Kirkus Reviews
The director of Duke University's Environmental Laboratory offers an exciting evaluation of the potential for colonizing Mars by the end of the century. Piantadosi (The Biology of Human Survival: Life and Death in Extreme Environments, 2003) reviews the history of the space program, with special emphasis on the biological challenges of human space exploration in a zero-gravity environment. In his view, establishing a manned moon base is a critical first step. "To get to Mars," he writes, "astronauts must function in deep space for years and will face huge challenges in doing so." While the moon is readily accessible, a population living on Mars would face the significant constraints imposed by distance and orbital mechanics. A Mars-based society would need to be self-sufficient, with fail-safe life-support systems in place (even a temporary loss of power would be catastrophic.) Further, colonists on the moon or Mars would face increased exposure to cosmic radiation, the loss of bone and muscle density, and possible challenges to their cardiovascular and immune systems. Despite the lower cost and reduced risk of the unmanned space program, Piantadosi believes that America ("the unquestioned leader in space since Project Apollo") should also maintain its commitment to manned space exploration in order to keep its technological edge. While robots on the moon are already gathering important scientific information, only humans have the flexibility and imagination to allow scientists to pursue the unexpected. The author also considers the prospect of going beyond Mars to colonize the outer planets and beyond in the foreseeable future. He puts forth the lesson that the difficulties involved offer "the best incentives we have to take the best possible care of Spaceship Earth." An important book by a visionary with his feet planted on the ground.
Neil Degrasse Tyson

Finally, a give-it-to-me-straight account of why space exploration matters. In Mankind Beyond Earth, Claude A. Piantadosi folds together science, politics, and culture to demonstrate why a civilization without a spacefaring future is doomed to extinction.

Michael L. Gernhardt

In this engaging book, Claude A. Piantadosi presents a concise and accurate history of how our nation's space program arrived at its current uncertain juncture, supplementing it with powerful insights into a wide range of fields, from planetary science to human physiology. This is a compelling work from a scientist committed to expanding the human exploration of our universe.

MetaScience - Lisa Messeri

Piantadosi's goal throughout the book is to explain to the lay audience why spaceexploration is difficult and important. He achieves this first goal in a clear manner,very accessible to someone without a technical background.

SirReadaLot.org

Piantadosi assembles and presents the best of the vast amount of information we have accumulated… it will kindle in many a sense of excitement for some of the great adventures still awaiting us as a nation.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231162425
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
01/01/2013
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
1,350,540
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are saying about this

MD - Jay C. Buckey
Mankind Beyond Earth offers a wide-ranging analysis of the challenges facing human space exploration. Using examples from polar expeditions, aviation history, undersea voyages, and space missions, Claude A. Piantadosi shows that exploration is unforgiving to those who fail to plan. Piantadosi details the barriers that must be surmounted for humans to leave Earth for long voyages. He supports his case with information from diverse disciplines, including microbiology, radiation physics, botany, astronomy, and physiology. He also makes a strong argument for the United States to refocus on exploring the Moon and to use Moon exploration both for scientific discovery and as preparation for longer trips to Mars.
Bruce D. Butler

A whole generation has grown up with tales of the glory of man's excursion into space, and this fact-filled and stimulating book ties the story together and extends it to further exploration of the Moon again and Mars.

Jay C. Buckey MD

Mankind Beyond Earth offers a wide-ranging analysis of the challenges facing human space exploration. Using examples from polar expeditions, aviation history, undersea voyages, and space missions, Claude A. Piantadosi shows that exploration is unforgiving to those who fail to plan. Piantadosi details the barriers that must be surmounted for humans to leave Earth for long voyages. He supports his case with information from diverse disciplines, including microbiology, radiation physics, botany, astronomy, and physiology. He also makes a strong argument for the United States to refocus on exploring the Moon and to use Moon exploration both for scientific discovery and as preparation for longer trips to Mars.

Read More

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