336 pages, 20 figures
Seeking to reenergize Americans’ passion for the space program, the value of the Moon, and the importance of people in the final frontier, Claude A. Piantadosi presents a rich history of American space exploration and its extraordinary achievements.
He emphasizes the importance of continuing manned and unmanned space missions to American and human interests, and he stresses the many adventures that still await us in the unfolding universe. Remaining cognizant of space exploration’s practical and financial obstacles, Piantadosi nevertheless challenges us to revitalize our leadership in space and reap its vast scientific bounty.
Along with being a captivating story of ambition, invention, and discovery, Piantadosi’s history explains why space exploration is increasingly difficult and why space experts always seem to disagree. He argues that the future of the space program requires merging the practicalities of exploration with the constraints of human biology. Space science deals with the unknown, and the margin (and budget) for error is small. Lethal near-vacuum conditions, deadly cosmic radiation, microgravity, vast distances, and highly scattered resources remain immense physical problems.
To be competitive, America needs to develop affordable space transportation and flexible exploration strategies grounded in sound science. Piantadosi closes with suggestions for accomplishing these goals, combining his skepticism as a scientist with an unshakable belief in space’s untapped – and wholly worthwhile – potential.
"An important book by a visionary with his feet planted on the ground."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Finally, a give-it-to-me-straight account of why space exploration matters. In Mankind Beyond Earth, Claude A. Piantadosi folds together science, politics, and culture to demonstrate why a civilization without a spacefaring future is doomed to extinction."
– Neil Degrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History, author of Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier
"In this engaging book, Claude A. Piantadosi presents a concise and accurate history of how our nation's space program arrived at its current uncertain juncture, supplementing it with powerful insights into a wide range of fields, from planetary science to human physiology. This is a compelling work from a scientist committed to expanding the human exploration of our universe."
– Michael L. Gernhardt, NASA astronaut, manager of the Environmental Physiology Laboratory at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
"Recommended for readers intrigued by the real-life requirements of space exploration."
– Library Journal
"This nicely written volume will appeal to the general public and space enthusiasts who want to learn about the hazards of human space exploration."
"Piantadosi's goal throughout the book is to explain to the lay audience why space exploration is difficult and important. He achieves this first goal in a clear manner, very accessible to someone without a technical background."
– Lisa Messeri, MetaScience
"A whole generation has grown up with tales of the glory of man's excursion into space, and this fact-filled and stimulating book ties the story together and extends it to further exploration of the Moon again and Mars."
– Bruce D. Butler, University of Texas Medical School at Houston
"Mankind Beyond Earth offers a wide-ranging analysis of the challenges facing human space exploration. Using examples from polar expeditions, aviation history, undersea voyages, and space missions, Claude A. Piantadosi shows that exploration is unforgiving to those who fail to plan. Piantadosi details the barriers that must be surmounted for humans to leave Earth for long voyages. He supports his case with information from diverse disciplines, including microbiology, radiation physics, botany, astronomy, and physiology. He also makes a strong argument for the United States to refocus on exploring the Moon and to use Moon exploration both for scientific discovery and as preparation for longer trips to Mars."
– Jay C. Buckey MD, former payload-specialist astronaut, professor of medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
A Short Introduction to the Science of Space Exploration
Part 1: Hindsight and Foresight
1. Men and Machines
2. A Space Lexicon
3. The Explorers
4. Twentieth-Century Space
5. Back to the Moon
Part 2: A Home Away from Home
6. Living off the Land
7. Round and Round It Goes . . . Where It Stops
8. By Force of Gravity
9. The Cosmic Ray Dilemma
10. Tiny Bubbles
Part 3: Where Are We Going?
11. The Case for Mars
12. Big Planets
13. New Stars
Bibliography and Additional Reading
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Claude A. Piantadosi, M.D., is professor and director of the F.G. Hall Environmental Laboratory at Duke University. Educated at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, he trained in Undersea Medicine and saturation diving in the U.S. Navy and in respiratory physiology and pulmonary medicine at Duke. He is an author on more than 300 scientific papers and of The Biology of Human Survival: Life and Death in Extreme Environments.