Cover image for Space, the final frontier
Space, the final frontier
Genta, G. (Giancarlo)
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Publication Information:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Physical Description:
xxvii, 401 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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Table of contents
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TL793 .G426 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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What are our motivations for going into space? Where does our long-term space future lie? Why, and how, should we strive to reach, if not for the stars, at least for the Moon and Mars? This exciting book looks first at the progress that has already been made in our attempts to explore and expand beyond the Earth. Current and past space technologies and space stations are described, and the effects of the space environment on the human body are explained. A discussion of the merits of the robotic exploration of space is followed by a look at our exploration of the Moon and Mars. Final chapters touch on propulsion methods required for leaving our solar system, and ask which of the possibilities for future space travel is most likely to succeed. This thought provoking book will appeal to all those with an interest in the future of space exploration.

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