An eye-opening and provocative tour of our solar system, from one of Britain’s celebrated astronomists.
Have you ever dreamed of being an astronaut, traveling through the universe on your very own space mission? What would it be like to tour the solar system, visiting the sun and the planets, taking in everything from moons to asteroid belts along the way? What would you see, and how would you feel? What would you eat? How would you navigate and produce fuel? How would you survive?
On this epic voyage of discovery, astronomer Mark Thompson takes you on that journey. From how to prepare for take-off and the experience of leaving Earth’s atmosphere, to the reality of living in the confines of a spaceship and the strange sensation of weightlessness, this is an adventure like no other.
Suit up, strap in, and enjoy the ride!
"Departure from Earth is an emotional experience," writes British astronomer Thompson as he leads a tour from the sun to the Oort Cloud, visiting each of the planets in turn. Beginning with a careful planning of routes, Thompson tackles the ins and outs of constructing a ship that will be protected from meteorites, solar flares, and cosmic rays. For each celestial object he visits, he presents a history of humans' understanding of it along with what is known of its physical makeup. Thompson allows readers to imagine walking on planetary and lunar surfaces using his "Reality Suspension Unit," though he discourages travelers from exploring the gas giants, which lack hard surfaces. Interesting factoids abound: Mars takes its red hue from the powdered rust coating its surface, and water tanks can be refilled on the Jovian moon Europa. Thompson also considers the psychological effects of years in space, the emotional need for fresh food, and how to have sex in zero gravity. Images of scenic wonders, including the ammonia volcanos of Titan with their close-up view of Saturn's rings, make one long for a means of interplanetary travel. Thompson's clear explanations and effusive delivery make this book a perfect companion for armchair voyagers.