This Is Rocket Science: True Stories of the Risk-taking Scientists who Figure Out Ways to Explore Beyond Earth

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Overview

..three, two, one... we have liftoff! From the award-winning author of Are We Alone? comes a title to propel young imaginations far into space. This Is Rocket Science explores the past, present, and future of space travel.

The compelling text—vetted by NASA scientists—is a combination of history, science, human drama, and future challenges. Readers learn how fireworks in ancient China developed into the fire arrows used by Genghis Khan; we meet Sir Isaac Newton, Jules Verne, ...

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This Is Rocket Science: True Stories of the Risk-taking Scientists who Figure Out Ways to Explore Beyond Earth

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Overview

..three, two, one... we have liftoff! From the award-winning author of Are We Alone? comes a title to propel young imaginations far into space. This Is Rocket Science explores the past, present, and future of space travel.

The compelling text—vetted by NASA scientists—is a combination of history, science, human drama, and future challenges. Readers learn how fireworks in ancient China developed into the fire arrows used by Genghis Khan; we meet Sir Isaac Newton, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and learn how their imaginations shaped rocketry. We revisit the era of Sputnik, the satellite that launched a superpower space race, ending with moonwalks and a rendezvous in space. Finally we look forward to the future challenges of Mars and beyond. We also get a sneak peek at new technologies like space elevators, solar sails, ion propulsion, and more.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Cindy Faughnan
As many as two thousand years ago, humans began discovering principles that would help launch rockets into space. This book begins with Chinese scientists and fire rockets before moving forward to the "Fathers of Modern Rocketry"; satellites; different space projects such as Saturn, Apollo, and Orion; the space shuttles; and the International Space Station. In short chapters, readers discover the history of rocket science and the influences on people who went on to change the field. The book explains the science behind many aspects of rocket science such as rocket fuels and the thrust necessary to overcome the gravitational pull of Earth. It follows the launching of the first satellites, the rockets to the moon and beyond, and the tragedies that have occurred in the space program. It concludes with ideas for the future. Brief chapters are packed with interesting information explained in terms that make sense. Tidbits involving famous scientists' or astronauts' childhood interests are extremely interesting. The glossy, color photographs and diagrams are clearly captioned and help make the text more understandable. The book does not focus on biographies as the subtitle suggests, but it gives an excellent overview of rocket science. The design includes clear text written on light graph paper that makes it look like a lab notebook, nice size photographs, and clear diagrams. Readers with an interest in the subject will discover many avenues to explore further. This book is a good place to start. Reviewer: Cindy Faughnan
Children's Literature - Jean Boreen
This text is an example of a great combination of fact and well-chosen photographs to tell the interesting history of a concept—in this case, the history and use of rockets—in a thoughtful and articulate way. The eight well-researched chapters provide readers with the origins of rockets before the author fast-forwards to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when the true "fathers" of rocket science began their work. The final chapters focus on current innovations in rocketry. Skurzynski spends necessary time describing the offerings and lives of those connected to rocketry, both historic and contemporary, and then connects their innovations to the various world political events—World War II, the Cold War—that clearly create the baseline for the great "race into space." Events related to various spacecraft flights provide the material for additional chapters. With consistent references to Jules Verne and H. G. Wells and their books, work that really set the scientists' imaginations on fire, this excellent book will encourage students to read Verne's From the Earth to the Moon. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
Kirkus Reviews
This brief but engaging chronicle of how rocketry made space travel possible begins 1,000 years ago in China with the invention of "fire arrows." Skurzynski breezes through the astronomical discoveries of Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler and the formulation of Newton's laws of gravity and motion to the late 19th century. After discussing the contributions of rocketry pioneers Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Robert Goddard, Hermann Oberth and Wernher von Braun, the author focuses on the era of space exploration, beginning with the launch of Sputnik and continuing with the ensuing "space race" between the United States and Soviet Union. Important developments such as the Saturn V rocket, space-shuttle program and international space station are highlighted. The concluding chapter discussing NASA's Ares program and its plan to return to the Moon is already dated by the Obama administration's recent decision to scrap the program. Abundantly illustrated and attractively designed, readers will find this overview of rocket science informative and appealing. Glossary, index and resources not seen. (Nonfiction. 10-13)
From the Publisher
Gloria Skurzynski does something unique here by writing about the early development of rocket science itself, and includes the work of scientists from a variety of countries including Russia and Germany. She starts with the history of rocketry, going back to China’s development of gunpowder and Italy’s embrace of fireworks (more valuable trivia: the word rocket is based on the Italian word rocce, which means “long thin tube”), and then moves forward into the interesting coincidence that many early rocket scientists were fans of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. Is that cool or what?—Colleen Mondor, Bookslut.com
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Though possibly of interest as a sketchy update for the likes of Ron Miller's Rockets (Lerner, 2007), Steve Otfinoski's Rockets (Marshall Cavendish, 2006), or older surveys, this overview of the history of rocketry largely covers well-scouted territory. Tucking a few uncommon details into, particularly, the early chapters, Skurzynski begins with the development of gunpowder bombs and rockets in China, goes on to explain the ideas of pioneers like Konstantin Tsiolkovksy and Robert Goddard, then recaps the Space Race and highlights of the Space Shuttle Program. After a quick look at the commercial rockets under development by Elon Musk's SpaceX Corporation (but none of his several private competitors), she closes with a highly selective list of alternatives to chemical rockets: the space elevator, solar sails, ion engines, and magneto-plasma propulsion. Further marred by a hard-to-read main text printed in low-contrast gray against a patterned background, and also an incorrect claim that the solar wind is composed of photons, this book may draw some readers with its attractive photos and packaging, but doesn't make a significant contribution to space exploration's history or ongoing initiatives.—John Peters, New York Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426305979
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 4/13/2010
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 1,031,995
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: 1210L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2013

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