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Book Reviews


The Astronaut’s Cookbook: Tales, Recipes, and More
Authors: Charles T. Bourland and Gregory L. Vogt

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 978-1-4419-0623-6

Price: £19.99 (Pb), 219pp


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When you next sit there with your pre-prandial glass of Sancerre, the smell of fresh bread coming from the kitchen, looking forward to your steak au poive, pomme dauphinois, and a bottle of Chateau Petrus, think of the orbiting astronaut, grasping his weightless beverage package, and re-hydrating his freeze-dried thermo-processed space meal.

Gherman Titov, in 1961, was the first person to eat in space. Weight and volume are the driving forces. 1720g (3.8 lb) of food per day is the norm; 1700 calories for men, 1600 calories for women; 14 % protein, 53 % carbohydrates, 33 % fat. The aim is to keep the space person, healthy and ‘fuelled’. Just think of the precooked turkey, packaged in a foil-laminated retort pouch, sterilized by ionizing radiation and spiced up by pepper suspended in oil, and salt dissolved in water both from your handy polyethylene dropper bottles; yum, yum. And be careful. Too vigorous knife and fork action can launch your weightless meat across the cabin into your instrumentation. It is little wonder that most astronauts under-eat.

Charles Bourland has just retired from his job as NASA’s ‘director of space foods’, and Gregory Vogt was an astronaut trainer. They have provided us with a fascinating insight into the job of the space dietician and nutritionist, as well as a wondrous collection of recipes for the meals that were served on Skylab, Apollo, the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. What is it going to be? Chipotle-lime marinated grilled pork chops or tofu with hoisin sauce; followed by cherry blueberry cobbler or rhubarb muffins washed down with a mango-peach smoothie or chocolate instant breakfast? The choice is yours. Everything is designed on an eight day rotating basis. Something to look forward to on the seven month trip to Mars!

This an intriguing book, well written, and colourfully reproduced with a host of appetising pictures. One or two of the recipes made my mouth water. But only one or two!

David W. Hughes

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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