Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier

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Overview

“A compelling appeal, at just the right time, for continuing to look up.”—Air & SpaceAmerica’s space program is at a turning point. After decades of global primacy, NASA has ended the space-shuttle program, cutting off its access to space. No astronauts will be launched in an American craft, from American soil, until the 2020s, and NASA may soon find itself eclipsed by other countries’ space programs.With his signature wit and thought-provoking insights, Neil deGrasse Tyson—one of our foremost thinkers on all things space—illuminates the ...

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Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier

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Overview

“A compelling appeal, at just the right time, for continuing to look up.”—Air & SpaceAmerica’s space program is at a turning point. After decades of global primacy, NASA has ended the space-shuttle program, cutting off its access to space. No astronauts will be launched in an American craft, from American soil, until the 2020s, and NASA may soon find itself eclipsed by other countries’ space programs.With his signature wit and thought-provoking insights, Neil deGrasse Tyson—one of our foremost thinkers on all things space—illuminates the past, present, and future of space exploration and brilliantly reminds us why NASA matters now as much as ever. As Tyson reveals, exploring the space frontier can profoundly enrich many aspects of our daily lives, from education systems and the economy to national security and morale. For America to maintain its status as a global leader and a technological innovator, he explains, we must regain our enthusiasm and curiosity about what lies beyond our world.Provocative, humorous, and wonderfully readable, Space Chronicles represents the best of Tyson’s recent commentary, including a must-read prologue on NASA and partisan politics. Reflecting on topics that range from scientific literacy to space-travel missteps, Tyson gives us an urgent, clear-eyed, and ultimately inspiring vision for the future.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In these cash-strapped times, America's space program seemed like a superfluous expense. Although NASA accounts for just half of one percent of federal spending, congressional leaders made it an early casualty of the 2008 recession. In this lively, even humorous book, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson makes perhaps the most persuasive case yet for reactivating our space travel efforts. His argument is multifaceted; he contends for instance that NASA science cross-pollinates research that benefits our entire economy. Entertaining advocacy. (P.S. The author's communication skills probably benefit from his daytime job as the director of New York's famed Hayden Planetarium.)

Vicki Powers

Booklist
“A genial advocate for the space program, Tyson offers diagnoses of its malaise that will resonate with its supporters.”
Dava Sobel
“There is much to enjoy here, and nothing too arcane for a non–space cadet to follow.”
Library Journal
This collection highlights Tyson's (director, Hayden Planetarium; The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet) writings from 1986 to 2011, including Natural History magazine's "Universe" columns, interviews, articles, tweets, and even a poem. Organized in parts—"Why," "How," and "Why Not"—the book covers the history, politics, science, and wonder of space exploration. It opens with a new essay lamenting the increasing lag in U.S. space exploration and closes with informative tables on a number of other countries' space budgets. Even at the height of spending in 1966, the United States spent less than one percent of gross domestic product on space. Tyson is an articulate popularizer of astrophysics, and many will recognize him from TV shows like NOVA and The Universe. His writing style, while necessarily a bit technical, is as engaging as his screen presence. VERDICT Young adult and adult readers, those interested in science and space exploration, and those opposed to or confused by the race to space will all be stimulated by this readable text. [See Prepub Alert, 8/15/11.]—Sara Tompson, Univ. of Southern California Libs., Los Angeles
Kirkus Reviews
Astrophysicist Tyson, the director of Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, delivers a forceful, cumulative argument for space exploration even in the face of a disastrous economy. In this collection of articles and talks, the author investigates what space travel means to us as a species and, more specifically, what NASA means to America. Deploying an energetic tone, scattershot with clever twists and peculiar, entertaining factoids, Tyson handles the species half of the equation from the comic angle. That perspective is inclusive and humbling, open and encouraging of wonder, and the author finds in Earth a precious mote in the vastness, allowing readers to transcend the primal and celebrate great scientific laws to appreciate our place in the universe. It also helps us get past the jingoistic aspects of space exploration, for if NASA--the other half of Tyson's concern--is driven by anything, it is military politics. "When science does advance, when discovery does unfold, when life on Earth does improve," he writes, "they happen as an auxiliary benefit and not as a primary goal of NASA's geopolitical mission statement." But those auxiliary benefits are the critical, serendipitous fallout of the space program: GPS, cordless power tools, ear thermometers, household water filters, long-distance telecommunication devices, smoke detectors and much more. You can't script the benefits; you have to have faith in the cross-pollinating splendors of science, and Tyson finds little evidence for this in the current Congress. If Tyson handles both the rarified and scientific justifications of continued space funding with aplomb, his economic reasoning falls short. One half a penny of each tax dollar sounds scant, but that leaves only 199 like-sized programs for the entire government. An enthusiastic, persuasive case to start probing outer space again.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393350371
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/2/2014
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 604,239
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History, director of the world-famous Hayden Planetarium, a monthly columnist for Natural History, and an award-winning author. He has begun production of a new Cosmos series, premiering in early 2013. He lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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