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Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey

Beyond: Our Future in Space

by Chris Impey

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About 25% fiction, 25% history, 25% science & technology, and 25% speculation, this is kind of mixed bag. There's really nothing new here and a few minor errors. (e.g. Pg. 10 - Apes are not 'our most recent ancestors'. They are our distant cousins with whom we share a common ancestor about 6 million years ago. Pg. 52 - Viking 1 did not provide 'the first image ever returned from the surface of another planet.' That honor goes to the Soviet Venera 9, which returned pictures of Venus a year earlier. Pg. 68 - Helium is not the lightest gas. Hydrogen is. There were a couple others where the error, such as it was, was simply a matter of needing qualifications that were not provided.) I don't mean to sound pedantic, but the editors should have caught these. The general theme of the book, though (with which I agree) is that humanity must reach beyond Earth and our solar system, not only to learn but to survive. A stronger and more inspiring argument for this could be made than is provided here. ( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
This is the best book on the subject of the economics and history space exploration. Chris Impey makes a rational argument for humanities destiny in space. He argues that genetically humans are predisposed to be explorers. That this is why we left Africa where we originated to inhabit the rest of the world. He then argues that in time the economics will make space profitable. We are running out of cheap access to minerals that make our technology possible and that these minerals are readily available on the moon and near earth asteroids. He speculates on what countries are positioning themselves to take the lead in space exploration. He thinks China will surpass the US. based on their ability to focus their political and economic will. Another factor he cites for our decline is the aging of our most innovative class the engineers. The average age of Chinese engineer 25, the average age of an American engineer 45. The book should be a wake up call to all the folks who worry about the short term economics while taking their eyes off of long term research in the science and engineering that will take us into space and thus secure our long term economic health and wealth. ( )
  Cataloger623 | Jul 13, 2015 |
A competent rehash of space travel's past, present, and possible future -- not that many new ideas, I'd say, for people who are already well-read on the subject. There's a brief mention of transhumanism, but no argument that off-Earth colonization should be postponed until _Homo sapiens_ has been replaced by a successor species that's a whole lot more rational and a whole lot less violent.
  fpagan | Jun 20, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393239306, Hardcover)

Beyond dares to imagine a fantastic future for humans in space―and then reminds us that we’re already there.

Human exploration has been an unceasing engine of technological progress, from the first homo sapiens to leave our African cradle to a future in which mankind promises to settle another world. Beyond tells the epic story of humanity leaving home―and how humans will soon thrive in the vast universe beyond the earth.

A dazzling and propulsive voyage through space and time, Beyond reveals how centuries of space explorers―from the earliest stargazers to today’s cutting-edge researchers―all draw inspiration from an innate human emotion: wanderlust. This urge to explore led us to multiply around the globe, and it can be traced in our DNA.

Today, the urge to discover manifests itself in jaw-dropping ways: plans for space elevators poised to replace rockets at a fraction of the cost; experiments in suspending and reanimating life for ultra-long-distance travel; prototypes for solar sails that coast through space on the momentum of microwaves released from the Earth. With these ventures, private companies and entrepreneurs have the potential to outpace NASA as the leaders in a new space race.

Combining expert knowledge of astronomy and avant-garde technology, Chris Impey guides us through the heady possibilities for the next century of exploration. In twenty years, a vibrant commercial space industry will be operating. In thirty years, there will be small but viable colonies on the Moon and Mars. In fifty years, mining technology will have advanced enough to harvest resources from asteroids. In a hundred years, a cohort of humans born off-Earth will come of age without ever visiting humanity’s home planet. This is not the stuff of science fiction but rather the logical extension of already available technologies.

Beyond shows that space exploration is not just the domain of technocrats, but the birthright of everyone and the destiny of generations to come. To continue exploration is to ensure our survival. Outer space, a limitless unknown, awaits us.

55 illustrations

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 08 Jul 2015 20:42:14 -0400)

A report on humanity's imminent potential for living in space covers topics ranging from China's 2020 space station and the colonization of Mars to space-elevator innovations and the mapping of Earth-like exo-planets.

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