The Smithsonian History of Space Exploration by Roger D. Launius

Staff Pick

The Smithsonian History of Space Exploration (Smithsonian, $40), by Roger D. Launius, a former associate director at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, looks beyond Apollo. Through brief, engaging narratives and rich images he shows that space exploration is not a wholly 20th- and 21st- century American enterprise—this final frontier has captured and driven human imagination since the very beginning. The first chapter goes back to 700 BCE, chronicling how the ancient Babylonians charted the planets; subsequent chapters take that endeavor from the ancients to the moderns, recounting achievements such as China’s Chang’e 1, a lunar orbiter. Just as significant as the human successes are the robotic ones, like the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. This book leaves readers with a tantalizing look at the future of space travel, and the technologies and wonders that await us.

The Smithsonian History of Space Exploration: From the Ancient World to the Extraterrestrial Future Cover Image
ISBN: 9781588346377
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Smithsonian Books - October 23rd, 2018

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