Space Invaders: How Robotic Spacecraft Explore the Solar System

Overview

Manned space programs attract the most media attention, and it is not hard to understand why-the danger, the heroism, the sheer adventure we as earthbound observers can imagine when humans are involved. But robotic missions deserve a respectful and detailed history and analysis of their own, and this book provides it.
Focusing on future modern spacecraft, Michel van Pelt explains the exciting life of unmanned space explorers, making the technology, design, development, ...
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Hardcover (2007)
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Overview

Manned space programs attract the most media attention, and it is not hard to understand why-the danger, the heroism, the sheer adventure we as earthbound observers can imagine when humans are involved. But robotic missions deserve a respectful and detailed history and analysis of their own, and this book provides it.
Focusing on future modern spacecraft, Michel van Pelt explains the exciting life of unmanned space explorers, making the technology, design, development, operation and results of modern space probe missions understandable by lay readers.

Instead of describing one specific spacecraft or mission, Michel van Pelt offers a "behind the scenes" look at the life of a space probe: from its first conceptual design to the analysis of the scientific data returned by the spacecraft.

While most popular books on space concentrate on manned spaceflight, this book shows that unmanned space exploration is just as exciting. It demonstrates to the reader just what it takes to send a robotic spacecraft to another planet and what fascinating insight and knowledge we have gained from these probes.
**Offers an insight into the life of a space probe from concept through design to return and analysis of scientific data.
**Explains what it takes to send a robotic space probe to another planet.

**Demonstrates that unmanned space exploration can be as exciting as manned exploration.

**Provides the reader with a view of how the fascinating images and knowledge are obtained from these probes.
**Focuses on modern spacecraft and the future, rather than the history of past projects

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From the reviews:

"Michel van Pelt in his book … provides a practical look at these amazing machines that travel ever further from our home base on Earth. … the reader can well appreciate the effort that goes into ensuring that robots can acquire the most useful information. van Pelt enhances this distillation by using a simple writing style with little specialized nomenclature. Thus, the book is well suited to youths, young adults and those with a general interest." (Universe Today, May, 2007)

"This includes an historical introduction, an overview of the major successful and unsuccessful missions, and an attempt to anticipate some of the new technologies that may be introduced in the future. All of this is well written and easy to follow, though much of it was fairly familiar. … this is a worthwhile read for anyone seeking a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in those research centers and clean rooms where our robotic ambassadors are created and tested … ." (Peter Bond, BBC SkyatNight, June, 2007)

"In Space Invaders, Michel van Pelt, a cost and systems engineer with ESA, walks the reader through the steps needed to design, develop, and launch a planetary mission. … The book is written for people who are not necessary familiar with space exploration, so there’s some basic explanatory material in the book about orbits and rocket design. However, van Pelt provides plenty of more detailed information as well." (Jeff Foust, The Space Review, June, 2007)

"Van Pelt discusses unmanned space missions, which he calls robotic missions carried out by robotic spacecraft. … it will be useful to the general reader interested in learning about unmanned space exploration missions (US, European, and Russian) in all their complexity, in a chatty, somewhat amusing manner. It will also be useful to undergraduates who need an introduction to ‘robotic’ space exploration. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-and upper-division undergraduates; two-year technical program students." (A. M. Strauss, CHOICE, Vol. 44 (10), June, 2007)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780387332321
  • Publisher: Springer New York
  • Publication date: 12/15/2006
  • Edition description: 2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

1. From the ground up; 2. Rockets and satellites; 3. To the Moon; 4. Human versus robot; 5. A Space Robot is Born; 6. Anatomy of a Space Probe; 7. The Payload: Instruments of Science; 8. Launch; 9. Distant Destinations; 10. Calling Earth; 11. Death of a Spacecraft; 12. The Future; 13. References.
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