Paolo Ulivi and David Harland have written nothing less than a detailed history of unmanned missions exploring our Solar System.
In a fascinating and exhaustive study, they plot the history of unmanned space travel from the 1950s right up to the present day, in many cases using previously unavailable sources.
As in their previous book Lunar Exploration, the subject is treated wherever possible from an engineering and scientific standpoint. Technical descriptions of the spacecraft, of their mission designs and of instrumentations are provided.
Scientific results are discussed in considerable depth, together with details of mission management.
The book is extremely comprehensive, covering missions over the last half century, and some of the latest missions and their results appear in a popular science book for the first time.
This book also uses sources only recently made available on the Soviet space program, in addition to some obscure and rarely used references on the European space program.
The authors even cover many unflown missions, an amazing window on ideas that went unfulfilled at the time but which may still be proven and useful in the future.
From the reviews: "This book ! presents the accomplishments of robotic exploration of the major planets and their moons from Mercury to Neptune. Ulivi and Harland do a splendid job describing observations made using these ! 'robots' to take pictures and explore the infrared and radio emissions, aurora, magnetic fields, and magnetospheres of these planets, their satellites, and the interplanetary medium. ! More than 46 pages of references, further readings, excellent photographs and extensive illustrations, full author list, 6-page glossary, and 10-page index. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels." (W. E. Howard, CHOICE, Vol. 45 (8), 2008) "Robotic Exploration of the Solar System would address events that had happened over the period from 1957 up to the present day. ! this is a fantastic book -- there is much in it that I, as a devotee of the subject for longer than either of the authors, can draw from it. It really is encyclopaedic in its coverage and is a wonderful work for old timers ! and for students, new to the field, to consult to get up to speed." (Colin Pillinger, The Observatory, Vol. 128 (1203), 2008) "The best book I read so far on space exploration. ...The combination of Harland the historian, and Ulivi the astronomer ... make this an outstanding contribution. First, this book describes the state of the knowledge of the solar system just before space exploration begins. Second, this book is comprehensive, in that it includes US, European and Soviet/Russian contributions. ... An excellent basis for those who are looking for a global view of this part of the history of science." (Patrick Haubrechts, amazon.com)
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