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Illustrated by Stephen Biesty
Walker have teamed up a formidable duo to create this attractive introduction to space exploration. Martin Jenkins applies his scientific brain to clearly explaining the sometimes nebulous concepts of distances in space and time, while illustrator Stephen Biesty uses his brilliant graphic skills to reveal intricate details of the internal structure of space hardware. Jenkins traces the story of how early astronomers’ understanding of the night sky accelerated with the development of telescopes, from the simple models built by Galileo to sophisticated radiotelescopes. Actually launching into space required the development of rocketry. The space race between the United States and Soviet Union gave momentum to experiments to get a human into space, the first being the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961, followed eight years later by the first US moon landing. Stephen Biesty’s detailed cutaways reveal the inner workings of a range of spacecraft, from the Apollo missions and Space Shuttle to the International Space Station. And there is plenty of interesting detail on daily life in space, from weightlessness and exercise to eating and sleeping, not forgetting using the toilet. Ambitious projects to explore further into space include a variety of spaceprobes, with explanation of what a colony on Mars might look like, and even a mission beyond our solar system. Jenkins concludes: ‘Who knows what or who we might discover out there. And… the more we find out about other worlds, the more we might come to appreciate how unique and precious the planet that we call home really is.’