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Space, the final frontier
Genta, G. (Giancarlo)
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Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2003.
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xxvii, 401 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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TL793 .G426 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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What future possibilities for space travel are the most likely to succeed? What are the greatest challenges and advantages of space travel for humankind? What are the potential moral and ethical implications of our space explorations? Space, the Final Frontier imaginatively illustrates the possibilities that the exploration and subsequent exploitation of space opens up for humankind. Giancarlo Genta and Michael Rycroft delve into the factors that encourage space travel and speculate on the future of human expansion into space, including: the value and importance of having humans in space; the human exploration and colonization of our solar system; robotic exploration of the outer planets, their satellites and asteroids; the future possibility that humans may leave our solar system; the prospects and implications of our meeting other intelligent beings in space; the likelihood, consequences, and benefits of future space technologies. This insightful and visionary look at the future of human space exploration will appeal to all readers fascinated by space. Giancarlo Genta is Professor in the Department of Mechanics at the Technical University of Turin, Italy. He obtained degrees in Aeronautical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering from the same university, and his current research in applied mechanics is linked to the construction of machines. He has published a large number of research papers and eight previous books including Vibrations of Structures and Machines: Practical Aspects (Springer-Verlag New York, 1993, 1994, 1998) and Motor Vehicle Dynamics: Modelling and Simulation (World Scientific Publishing Company, 1997). Michael Rycroft is a visiting professor at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France, and at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK. For eleven years he was Head of the Atmospheric Sciences Division at the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, and he also spent four years as Professor of Aerospace at Cranfield University. He has acted as Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Managing Editor of Surveys in Geophysics, and also The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Space (2002).

Author Notes

Giancarlo Genta is a Professor in the Department of Mechanics at the Technical University of Turin, Italy.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Genta (Technical Univ. of Turin, Italy) and Rycroft (International Space Univ., Strasbourg; DeMontfort Univ., UK) lay out the general civil and military progress in space to date and spend the bulk of the book extrapolating about such topics as spaceports and habitats, skyhooks, space fountains, energy and power generation from space, lunar outposts, journeys to Mars, space mining and colonization, and efforts to find life in space. They pull no punches about the influences that politics and economics have had on the US space program, including hidden costs when international cooperation of several nations are involved in the effort. Though descriptions of the contributions of advanced concepts are good, the practicalities of pursuing them are not emphasized, making the descriptions rather fanciful. The authors offer a well-presented argument about why we need experience with colonizing and exploring the moon before we send manned missions to Mars. The book includes good but often technical appendixes on distances in the solar system and basics of astrodynamics and space propulsion, four pages of acronyms, and a helpful nine-page index. Illustrations concentrate on artists' conceptions and are rather low in contrast and quality. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates; professionals. W. E. Howard III formerly, Universities Space Research Association

Table of Contents

Franco MalerbaMichael Foale
Forewordp. xi
Forewordp. xv
Prefacep. xix
1. Space todayp. 1
A dramatic beginningp. 1
Unfulfilled promisesp. 4
Crisis of growth?p. 8
Commercial activitiesp. 26
Scientific activitiesp. 36
Military applicationsp. 50
Space and the developing countriesp. 57
Robots or humans in spacep. 60
2. The gateway to spacep. 68
The two cosmic velocitiesp. 68
Rocket propulsionp. 71
Beyond the Space Shuttlep. 75
Non-reusable rocketsp. 87
Spaceportsp. 91
Guns, skyhooks and space fountainsp. 92
3. Cities and factories in space?p. 104
Orbital labs and earlier space stationsp. 104
The International Space Stationp. 110
Effects of microgravity on the human bodyp. 115
Radiation and space debrisp. 118
Space habitatsp. 121
Energy generation in spacep. 128
Orbital power stationsp. 133
Light from spacep. 136
4. Robots in the Solar Systemp. 138
Large interplanetary spacecraftp. 138
Low-cost space probesp. 142
Propulsion in deep spacep. 145
Is there life on Mars?p. 159
New robotic planetary probesp. 166
Exploration of comets and asteroidsp. 172
The Kuiper belt and the heliopausep. 179
The focal line of the Sun's gravitational lensp. 182
5. Back to the Moonp. 184
Should we return to the Moon or go straight to Mars?p. 184
The rationale for scientific missions on the Moonp. 188
Lunar outpostsp. 196
Permanent basesp. 199
Private lunar bases?p. 207
Lunar power stationsp. 209
6. Mars, the red planetp. 211
Dreams and projectsp. 211
The 'Mars Outposts' approachp. 216
Mission planningp. 223
The first human beings on Marsp. 227
The beginning of colonisationp. 233
A planet to be terraformedp. 239
7. Exploitation of the solar systemp. 256
The inner planets: Mercury and Venusp. 256
Mining bases in space: the asteroidsp. 262
Energy from the giant gas planetsp. 264
The frontier of the solar systemp. 267
8. Beyond the pillars of Herculesp. 270
Huge distances, yet insufficient speedp. 270
Theoretical and practical impossibilitiesp. 275
Interstellar propulsionp. 277
Precursor missionsp. 284
Millions of planetsp. 286
The first, probable probesp. 296
Von Neumann probesp. 297
Panspermiap. 299
Humans beyond the solar systemp. 302
Relativistic speeds and human expansion into our galaxyp. 305
Virtual travellersp. 310
9. Other lives, other civilisationsp. 313
Life in the Universep. 313
Search for extraterrestrial intelligencep. 318
The Drake equationp. 323
Cosmic ambassadorsp. 327
Intelligent lifeformsp. 332
ET or Alien?p. 334
Humanoid characteristicsp. 337
ET or Alien againp. 343
10. Towards a galactic civilisationp. 345
Breaking the speed limitp. 345
A global village on a galactic scale?p. 352
Millions of human speciesp. 353
So let's go!p. 354
Appendix A Distances in the solar system and beyondp. 360
Appendix B The basics of astrodynamicsp. 363
Motion of projectiles in a gravitational fieldp. 363
Keplerian trajectoriesp. 364
Perturbations to Keplerian trajectoriesp. 368
Speed incrementsp. 369
Lagrange pointsp. 371
Non-linear astrodynamicsp. 373
Relativistic astrodynamicsp. 375
Appendix C The basics of space propulsionp. 377
Rocket propulsionp. 377
Nuclear rocketsp. 381
Electric propulsionp. 383
Future propulsion technologiesp. 386
Appendix D Common acronymsp. 388
Indexp. 393