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Book Reviews


Exploring the Unknown Vol VIII: Human Spaceflight

Authors: John M Logsdon

Publisher: NASA

ISBN: 9780160813818

Price: $35 (Hb), 858pp


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This seventh volume of NASA's definitive history is timely, covering human spaceflight in the fortieth year since the first Moon landing. It has the full text of President Kennedy insisting in secret talks with the head of NASA in 1962 that
putting a man on the Moon ahead of Russia must have top priority after defence. "We have to demonstrate that starting
behind, as we did by a couple of years, by God, we passed them."

It also reveals that Buzz Aldrin, the second man to step on the Moon, has never been given the full credit for his technical work in making the landing possible. Even before joining NASA he had done much pioneering work on developing the procedures and tools necessary for spacecraft to rendezvous and dock while in orbit. Techniques he devised have been used on all space rendezvous and docking flights since.

The other astronauts referred to Buzz as 'Dr Rendezvous' and his hard- working personality is contrasted with the earlier astronauts, who "in too many instances, were rambunctious men. They roughhoused and drank and drove fast and got into sexual peccadilloes." NASA officials described Gus Grissom,
in the first group of seven to be selected, as a consummate professional in the cockpit and an incorrigible adolescent whenever off duty. All the same, he could well have been the first man on the Moon if he had not died when an oxygen fire destroyed Apollo 1 during a ground rehearsal in 1967.

Reg Turnill

2009 Yearbook
This 132-page special edition features the ultimate observing guide for 2009, a review of all the biggest news stories of 2008, in depth articles covering all aspects of astronomy and space missions for 2009, previews of International Year of Astronomy events and much, much more.
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Infinity Rising
This special publication features the photography of British astro-imager Nik Szymanek and covers a range of photographic methods from basic to advanced. Beautiful pictures of the night sky can be obtained with a simple camera and tripod before tackling more difficult projects, such as guided astrophotography through the telescope and CCD imaging.
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Exploring Mars
Astronomy Now is pleased to announce the publication of Exploring Mars. The very best images of Mars taken by orbiting spacecraft and NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers fill up the 98 glossy pages of this special edition!
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Mars rover poster
This new poster features some of the best pictures from NASA's amazing Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
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