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Book Reviews


Turning Dust To Gold

Author: Haym Benaroya

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 978-1-4419-0870-4

Price: £36.99 (Pb), 399pp


Star Vistas

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This work opens with the statement “This book is an historical work based on a group of documents discovered in an old repository that chronicled the settlement of the Moon during that twenty-first century and into the twenty second century”. Written from the perspective of the year 2169 the author articulates that the International Space Station became the staging post for a space elevator, the first Moon birth occurred in 2099 and details how families, schools and business were established on the Moon. Similar conjecture is also applied to Mars in a text accompanied by a number of photographs and useful diagrams.

The early chapters cover space history moderately well but they become rather confusing when the text slips into future prose, sometimes leaving me to check back as to when the history stopped and the future started. Throughout there is discussion, written from current and future perspective, on the difficulties of finance, resources, national priorities, safety and technology along with many other themes that are of importance in future space exploration. The viewpoints may well be correct but when combined with a fictitious history the analysis is often awkward to engage with and becomes a muddle.

There are a number of ‘historical interviews’, which are present day real interviews as the book’s foreword puts it, including one with Neil Armstrong. Many of the interviewees are relatively unknown but work for various spaces agencies and have impressive knowledge and experience. The questions focus on their experiences and asks for their opinions on future space developments. Judging by the style and lengthy answers given on some occasions these appear to be completed in the form of a questionnaire rather than a face-to-face interview, although they are interesting nonetheless.

Sadly the concept of this book does not work at all and I found it rather frustrating. It would have been better written from today’s perspective seeking to identify future issues rather than taking a point in the future and speculating on what happened in the past. A lot of effort has gone in this book but sadly it is difficult to recommend.

Robin Flegg

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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