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Space Invaders: How Robotic Spacecraft Explore the Solar System
     

Space Invaders: How Robotic Spacecraft Explore the Solar System

by Michel van Pelt
 

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Manned space missions attract the most media attention, and it's not hard to understand why: A "crewed" space flight necessarily involves personal danger, daring, and courage. It is hard for us, as earthbound observers, not to become imaginatively and emotionally involved in the sheer adventure of human beings launched into the heavens.

However, in the roughly fifty

Overview

Manned space missions attract the most media attention, and it's not hard to understand why: A "crewed" space flight necessarily involves personal danger, daring, and courage. It is hard for us, as earthbound observers, not to become imaginatively and emotionally involved in the sheer adventure of human beings launched into the heavens.

However, in the roughly fifty years of the Space Age, unmanned missions, compared to manned missions, have flown much more often, much further, for much longer, and into regions of the Solar System from which no human could ever hope to return. In this book, Michel van Pelt offers a "behind the scenes" look at the development of unmanned missions, from their first conceptual design to the analysis of the scientific data returned by the spacecraft. In technically detailed but easy-to-understand prose he tells us: Why space probes are by definition lighter, cheaper, and much less complex than their manned counterparts. The compelling scientific rationale for investing in remote-controlled and robotic space flights to the furthest reaches of the Solar System and beyond. Why the widely discredited idea of "Faster, Better, Cheaper" space missions should be given another look, or at least two-thirds of another look. How advances in robotics and miniaturization, as well as propulsion, power, communications, and attitude and thermal systems, will continue to increase the range and versatility of unmanned spacecraft. In a blend of historical narrative and reader-friendly, informative analysis, Michel van Pelt describes not just the great unmanned spaceflights of our recent history, but the astonishing feats of exploration we can expect to witness in thedecades to come.

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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781489990129
Publisher:
Springer New York
Publication date:
11/16/2014
Edition description:
2007
Pages:
312
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

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