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Spacefarers

by Christopher Wanjek

Spacefarers Synopsis

A wry and compelling take on the who, how, and why of near-future colonies in space. From bone-whittling microgravity to eye-popping profits, the risks and rewards of space settlement have never been so close at hand. More than fifty years after the Apollo 11 moon landing, why is there so little human presence in space? Will we ever reach Mars? What will it take to become a multiplanet species, colonizing the solar system and traveling to other stars? Spacefarers meets these questions head on. While many books have speculated on the possibility of living beyond the Earth, few have delved into the practical challenges or plausible motives for leaving the safe confines of our home planet. Christopher Wanjek argues that there is little doubt we will be returning to the Moon and exploring Mars in the coming decades, given the potential scientific and commercial bonanza. Private industry is already taking a leading role and earning profits from human space activity. This can be, Wanjek suggests, a sustainable venture and a natural extension of earthbound science, business, and leisure. He envisions hotels in low-earth orbit and mining, tourism, and science on the Moon. He also proposes the slow, steady development of science bases on Mars, to be followed by settlements if Martian gravity will permit reproduction and healthy child development. An appetite for wonder will take us far, but if we really want to settle new worlds, we'll need the earnest plans of engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Wanjek introduces us to those planners, who are striving right now to make life in space a reality.

Spacefarers Press Reviews

Of interest to anyone curious about space travel and the (possible) human colonization of outer space. -- M. A. Orthofer * Complete Review * Drawing on the science and history of space exploration, Wanjek paints scenes of future human activity across the solar system. -- Maria Temming * Science News * Charts the way to an intriguing, not-too-distant future...Though the childlike wonder that took ahold of Americans during the Apollo era seems gone, Spacefarers suggests that a future in space is within reach, inspiring wonder in an age of skepticism. * Foreword Reviews * Wanjek takes an optimistic look towards humanity's future in space-not only on the Moon and Mars, but also on the asteroids and beyond...The great thing about this book is its balance between optimism and realism, between respect and frivolity. -- Mark Williamson * E&T * Wanjek addresses the challenges and possibilities of living in space in this inquisitive work...[He] opens up many intriguing possibilities in this wide-ranging survey. * Publishers Weekly * Spacefarers is the best book I've read on space exploration since Isaac Asimov. When I came of age in the 1960s, talk of colonizing the moon and Mars was as common as it was inspiring. But as the decades pass, it seems to be a goal that is still ten years away-and always will be. Why? As Christopher Wanjek reveals in this captivating read, the obstacles multiply, politically and scientifically, but that doesn't mean that we cannot overcome them. -- Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine and author of The Moral Arc and Heavens on Earth Spacefarers delves into the past, present, and future of space exploration in a way that really lets you picture what's possible, in all its mind-boggling glory. -- Maren Hunsberger, science communicator Wanjek gives readers a detailed and pragmatic look at living in space. Spacefarers explores not only the science and technology behind space travel, but also the economic, legal, and psychological challenges that await us. -- Isaac Arthur, host of Science & Futurism with Isaac Arthur Seamlessly blending biology and astrophysics with practical considerations, Wanjek humorously separates science fact from science fiction to illustrate the hazards and possible uses of space travel. A must-read. -- Lynn Cominsky, Sonoma State University Is our solar system the new frontier? In Spacefarers, you'll learn about a range of obstacles that make it more daunting to explore space than sea or sky. And yet, as Wanjek notes, we seem up for the challenge. -- David Brin, astrophysicist and author of Existence and The Postman This book offers a witty yet in-depth exploration of the prospects for human habitation beyond Earth. Christopher Wanjek takes us on a bones-to-brain tour of human anatomy and psychology under extreme living conditions, from orbit around Earth to the far reaches of the solar system. Spacefarers is accessible, authoritative, and in the end, inspiring. -- Richard Panek, author of The Trouble with Gravity: Solving the Mystery Beneath Our Feet A fascinating read for anyone interested in the practicalities of living away from Earth, and describes just how engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs are planning to expand humanity's horizons. -- Paul Sutherland * BBC Sky at Night * Engagingly readable...[A] delightful book. -- Michael D. Gordin * Los Angeles Review of Books * Wanjek's analysis of the commercial approach to space exploration adds an important perspective to the conversation about our future in space. * Science * Nerdily engaging (and often funny)...Technology and science fiction enthusiasts will find much here to delight them, as Wanjek goes into rich detail on rocketry and propulsion methods, including skyhooks and railguns to fling things into orbit, or maglev trains running around manmade orbital rings...He is a sensible skeptic, yet also convinced that, in the long run, our destiny is among the stars. * The Guardian *

Book Information

ISBN: 9780674984486
Publication date: 24th April 2020
Author: Christopher Wanjek
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 400 pages
Categories: Astronomy, space & time, Cosmology & the universe, Technology, engineering, agriculture,

About Christopher Wanjek

Christopher Wanjek is the author of Bad Medicine and Food at Work. He has written more than 500 articles for the Washington Post, Sky & Telescope, Astronomy, Mercury, and Live Science. From 1998 to 2006, he was a senior writer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, covering the structure and evolution of the universe.

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