Our Worlds: The Magnetism and Thrill of Planetary Exploration

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Our Worlds provides a rare "insider" look into the universe and planetary science during the current golden age of space exploration. Readers are guided on an exciting voyage of discovery by eight distinguished researchers who explore the universe with cutting edge techniques. From Chief Scientist on NASA's New Millennium Program Ellen Stofan to planetary theorist Bill McKinnon, each writes from a personal point of view, sharing to the fullest the science and emotion found in the most enticing discoveries and the wonders of the solar system. This volume gives readers an up-close view of Mars, Venus, and the Moon; a trip with Halley's Comet; a visit to the moons of Io, Titan, and Triton; and the ability to experience asteroids in their natural element. Coverage details the most current knowledge of the solar system learned from space missions, including Magellan and Galileo. This volume fully captures the breadth of planetary science, from inner to outer worlds, from telescopic to robotic exploration, and provides an unique glimpse into the drives and interests of the men and women behind the science. It is the most encompassing book on the subject to date and will interest anyone who looks at the night sky and wonders what it would feel like to be able to get a closer look. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist and astrophysicist with both observational and theoretical interests. He is the leader of the Southwest Research Institute's Geophysical, Astrophysical, and Planetary Science group located in Boulder, CO.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...highlights the human story of planetary science...presents the life stories of nine planetary scientists...their research, their lives, and how they got involved in what they're doing." Astronomy

"...superb." Science Books & Films

"An unexpected plus is how much cutting-edge science gets conveyed so well in so few pages...anyone who has struggled to understand concepts like mineral spectroscopy, orbital dynamics, and cratering rates will appreciate how easily they can be grasped when presented with a little care..." Sky & Telescope

"The contributors write with varying degrees of formality, humor, and self-revelation, but all convey their enthusiasm for the celestial worlds they study as well as the world of professional astronomy. Recommended for public and academic libraries." Library Journal

Library Journal
Eight planetary scientists describe their personal inner worlds as well as the planets, moons, asteroids, and comets to which they have devoted their careers. Their work is plagued by countless setbacks including equipment failures, funding cuts, and cloudy skies and inconveniences frigid weather and monotonous diets in remote locations. They may wait years to collect a few precious hours of data from a space mission. But thanks to the support of colleagues and family--and timely good luck--they have successfully pursued educational and research opportunities and maintained their optimism and sense of wonder. The contributors write with varying degrees of formality, humor, and self-revelation, but all convey their enthusiasm for the celestial worlds they study as well as the world of professional astronomy. Recommended for public and academic libraries. Index and illustrations not seen.--Nancy Curtis, Univ. of Maine, Orono
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521644402
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 172
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface Alan Stern; Introduction Alan Stern; 1. Exploring Mars Steve Squyres 2. Venus: the way we might have been Ellen Stofan; 3. Moonlighting Carle Pieters; 4. Small worlds, close up Clark Chapman; 5. Cruisin' with Comet Halley Paul Weissman; 6. Io and I John Spencer; 7. Titan: a world seen but darkly Jonathan Lunine; 8. Triton is doomed Bill McKinnon.

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