Cover image for Space exploration : a history in 100 objects
Space exploration : a history in 100 objects
Physical Description:
205 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 25 cm.
The Blombos Ochre drawing -- The Abri Blanchard bone plaque -- The Egyptian star clock -- The Nebra sky disk -- The Venus tablet of ammisaduqa -- The electric battery -- Pilatre de Rozier and d'Arlandes's balloon -- William Herschel's forty-foot telescope -- The spectroscope -- The Daguerreotype camera -- The solar panel -- The Leviathan of Parsonstown -- Crookes tube -- The triode vacuum tube -- The ion rocket engine -- The Hooker Telescope -- Robert Goddard's rocket -- The Van de Graaff generator -- The coronagraph -- Jansky's merry-go-round radio telescope -- The V-2 rocket -- ENIAC -- Colossus Mark 2 -- The radio interferometer -- The heat shield -- The integrated circuit -- The atomic clock -- Space fasteners -- The hydrogen line radio telescope -- The x-ray imaging telescope -- The hydrogen bomb -- The radioisotope thermoelectric generator -- The nuclear rocket engine -- Sputnik -- Vanguard 1 -- Luna 3 -- The endless loop magnetic tape recorder -- The laser -- Space food -- The space suit -- Syncom 2 (and 3) -- The Vidicon camera -- The space blanket -- The handheld maneuvering unit -- Apollo 1 block I hatch -- The interface message processor -- The Hasselblad camera -- Apllo 11 moon rocks -- The CCD imager -- The lunar laser ranging retroreflector -- The Apollo lunar television camera -- The homestake gold mine neutrino detector -- Lunokhod 1 -- The skylab exercise bike -- The laser geodynamics satellilte (LAGEOS) -- Smoot's differential microwave radiometer -- The Viking remote controlled sampling arm -- The "rubber mirror" -- The multi-fiber spectrograph -- The Venera Landers -- The compromised Challenger O-rings -- COSTAR -- CMOS sensors -- The Allan Hills Meteroite -- Sojourner -- Gravity Probe B -- LIDAR -- The large hadron collider -- The Kepler Space Telescope -- Curiosity River -- Mangalyaan-the Mars orbiter mission -- A 3-D printed ratchet wrench -- The LIGO gravitational wave interferometer - The Tesla Roadster -- The Event Horizon Telescope.
From Galileo's telescope to the International Space Station - a stunningly photo-filled tour through the milestones of space exploration, examining iconic objects from Sputnik to Skylab and their effect on what we know and how we think about space. --


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Book 520.9 ODE 1 1

On Order



This is no ordinary space book.

Within the pages of this eclectic pop-history, scientist and educator Sten Odenwald at NASA examines 100 objects that forever altered what we know and how we think about the cosmos. From Sputnik to Skylab and Galileo's telescope to the Curiosity rover, some objects are iconic and some obscure--but all are utterly important. The Nebra sky disk (1600 BCE) features the first realistic depiction of the Sun, Moon, and stars. The Lunar Laser Ranging RetroReflector finally showed us how far we are from the Moon in 1969. In 1986, it was the humble, rubber O-ring that doomed the space shuttle Challenger . The Event Horizon Telescope gave us our first glimpse of a black hole in 2019. These 100 objects, as Odenwald puts it, showcase "the workhorse tools and game-changing technologies that have altered the course of space history . . . the tools and devices that, taken together, represent the major scientific discoveries--and celebrate the human ingenuity--of space technology, showing the ways physics and engineering have brought about our greatest leaps in understanding the way our universe works. . . . They make it clear that we have made giant strides in our quest to search ever more deeply into the farthest reaches of the universe--and behind each new discovery is an object that expands our appreciation of space as well as the boundless imagination and resourcefulness we carry within us."

Author Notes

Dr. Sten Odenwald is an award-winning astrophysicist and prolific science popularizer who has been involved with science education for the COBE, IMAGE, Hinode, and InSight missions, as well as NASA's Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum. He is currently the director of citizen science for the NASA Space Science Education Consortium at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Foreword author John Mather won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics for measuring the Big Bang. He is the senior project scientist at the James Webb Space Telescope, which is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Astrophysicist Odenwald (Astrophysics in a Nutshell) surveys the history of space exploration in a captivating catalogue of artifacts and inventions. The 100 items depicted through colorful photos and concise explanations are "the workhorse tools and game-changing technologies" that have steered humanity to the stars, says Odenwald. They range from a 70,000-year-old etched stone artifact that bears the first known human drawing, and thus might be considered a "big bang of human ingenuity," to the huge Event Horizon Telescope that, in 2019, generated the first image of a black hole. Elsewhere, Odenwald describes how meteorites delivered clues about the early solar system directly to the Earth, before advances in electronics and rocketry gave humanity the ability to leave the planet and begin exploring space. The earliest known lens, from 750 BCE, presaged the development of telescopes, from Galileo's simple model to space-based leviathans like the Hubble and the exoplanet-hunting Kepler. Odenwald also includes everyday--yet, for space exploration, pivotal--items such as the slide rule, and novelties such as space food and Elon Musk's orbiting Tesla Roadster. This resource is fun as well as informative, a lightweight encyclopedia of intriguing objects that will fascinate readers of any age. (Nov.)

Booklist Review

This engaging trek through the annals of human invention considers 100 physical artifacts that directly or indirectly advanced space exploration. Two-page entries with photos and accessible but satisfyingly technical essays are arranged chronologically, beginning in 70,000 BCE with the Blombos ochre artifact, a carving showing evidence of abstract reasoning. The first twelve entries fall within the BCE era; others wind through accumulating centuries (an algebra textbook, year 820; the slide rule, 1662; solar panels, 1839), and then dates speed up as breakthroughs hit the twentieth-century mark (the last two entries are the Tesla Roadster launched in 2018 and the 2019 sighting of a black hole via the Event Horizon Telescope). Coverage is international, for both ancient civilizations (Egyptian, Babylonian, Mayan, Anasazi) and modern nations (the U.S., Soviet Union, India, and China). A brief appended biography identifies author Odenwald, a NASA astrophysicist, as a ""science popularizer."" Whether read straight through or referenced by artifact, his collection of brief but enlightening entries is addictive and should appeal to a wide audience.--Kathleen McBroom Copyright 2019 Booklist