The Hazards of Space Travel: A Tourist's Guide

Overview

“I didn’t think about the dangers before going into space, but now I realize how hazardous it is!”
–Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, first person to walk in space

With the opening of the International Space Station at the start of this century and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company planning to take people above the Earth’s atmosphere next year, widespread space travel will soon leave the realm of science fiction.

Tourist trips to the Moon, asteroids, comets, Mars, and beyond are ...

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Overview

“I didn’t think about the dangers before going into space, but now I realize how hazardous it is!”
–Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, first person to walk in space

With the opening of the International Space Station at the start of this century and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company planning to take people above the Earth’s atmosphere next year, widespread space travel will soon leave the realm of science fiction.

Tourist trips to the Moon, asteroids, comets, Mars, and beyond are likely to become available in the next fifty years. But space isn’t Cancún. Travelers will live life on a razor’s edge, faced with potential disasters, from the thunderous liftoff to the unpredictable volcanic eruptions on Io, Jupiter’s most spectacular moon; from the high-speed impact of pebble-sized micrometeorites to the crumbling of a comet’s surface beneath your feet.

Now renowned physicist and astronomer Neil F. Comins, Ph.D., has written a hands-on guide to outer space for potential tourists and armchair travelers. Bringing to life the hard science are the fictional log entries of an imaginary colleague from the future, astronaut Mack Richardson. Together they reveal the risks and challenges that await tourists in the days they would spend orbiting the Earth, the weeks required for a trip to the Moon, and the years needed to go anywhere else in the solar system. Space is the new frontier of extreme adventuring, and The Hazards of Space Travel is a fun, fascinating, and informative guide to your own imminent space odyssey when the sky’s no longer the limit.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Comins (physics & astronomy, Univ. of Maine), who has worked at the NASA Ames Research Center developing computer models of the galaxies, believes space tourism will become common over the next century. His work is less a guidebook and more precisely a listing and description of all the things that can go wrong in space-and a lot can go wrong. Comins organizes the book by hazard and describes potential problems such as geological disasters on other worlds (e.g., landslides and quakes), harmful radiation and cosmic rays, impacts (even micrometeorites can destroy a spaceship), mechanical and computer failures, medical problems, and the psychological and social problems that can occur on long space journeys. He also describes the difficulty of readapting to life on Earth after such a journey. The sometimes monotonous prose is spiced up by excerpts from "Mack's log," the fictional journal of a future space traveler. This is really the first significant, comprehensive look at the potentially negative aspects of space tourism, which now seems less glamorous and more dangerous. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.
—Jeffrey Beall

School Library Journal

Adult/High School
Comins predicts that space tourism as far afield as the Jovian system may be feasible by the end of this century. This book, however, is less a sightseer's travel guide to our solar system than a description of the myriad hazards and unresolved problems facing humans traveling in interplanetary space. Landslides on Mars, volcanic eruptions on Io, quakes on Europa, galactic cosmic rays, meteoroids, a lack of water, fragile bones, genetic mutation, motion sickness, computer hackers-all these dangers and more await them. The author clearly presents basic information on the source of the danger, its effects on travelers, and the difficulties involved in protecting against it. The text is supplemented by fictitious entries from a space traveler's diary that illustrate how particular hazards might be addressed, as well as by clear black-and-white photographs and diagrams and an extensive bibliography. Future scientists will find this book thought-provoking, and SF fans can also enjoy it.
—Sandy SchmitzCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400065974
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/15/2007
  • Pages: 272
  • Lexile: 1300L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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