238 pages, colour & b/w photos, colour & b/w illustrations
Ever since the Montgolfier's hot air balloon carried a chicken, a goat, and a duck into the Parisian skies, scientists have dreamed of contraptions to explore the atmosphere. With the advent of the space age, new airborne inventions were needed. From the Soviet Venus balloons to the advanced studies of blimps and airplanes for the atmospheres of Mars and Titan, Drifting on Alien Winds surveys the many creative and often wacky ideas for exploring alien skies. Through historical photographs and stunning original paintings by the author, readers also explore the weather on planets and moons, from the simmering acid-laden winds of Venus to liquid methane-soaked skies of Titan.
A very respectable science reference book, a book of very, very pretty pictures, with captions [...] . very useful and informed reference book, packed with science and stories, tales of triumph and failure, and as many questions as answers. [...] this is a fantastic book, much more than people will expect it to be when they first hear about it or see it advertised. It's not simply a book of or about space art; it chronicles the past, present and future of space exploration
- (Cumbrian Sky, May, 2011)
Preface: Something in the Air
Part I: Starting Here and Getting There
- Chapter 1: The Sky at Home
- Chapter 2: What It Really Takes to Explore Alien Skies
- Chapter 3: Studies on the Fly
- Chapter 4: Studying the Weather from the Inside
Part II: The Forecast - Clearing, with Scattered Ammonia Showers by Morning
- Chapter 5: Venus
- Chapter 6: Mars
- Chapter 7: Jupiter
- Chapter 8: Saturn and Titan
- Chapter 9: Uranus, Neptune, and Triton
Part III: Future Explorers
- Chapter 10: Future Ballons, Aircraft, and Upcoming Missions
- Chapter 11: To Venture on Wilder Seas
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Science journalist, writer, and artist Michael Carroll has been looking at the clouds for half a century. His 25 years as a science writer have afforded him the opportunity to work with many in the planetary science community, with contacts spanning from government research facilities to universities to aerospace corporations. Aerospace runs in his family; his father was an aerodynamic engineer for Martin Marietta, and his grandfather was both a general in the U. S. Air Force and a personal friend of Orville Wright.
Carroll is a Fellow of the International Association for the Astronomical Arts, and has written articles and books on topics ranging from space to archaeology. His articles have appeared in Popular Science, Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, Astronomy Now (UK), and a host of children's magazines. His earlier book for Springer is The Seventh Landing, an exploration of our plans to return to the Moon. Carroll's twenty-some titles also include Alien Volcanoes (Johns Hopkins University Press), Space Art (Watson Guptill/Random House), and the children's book I Love God's Green Earth (Tyndale). Carroll has done commissioned artwork for NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His art has appeared in several hundred magazines throughout the world, including National Geographic, Time, Scientific American, Smithsonian, Astronomy, Sky and Telescope, Ciel et Espace, and others. One of his paintings is on the surface of Mars – in digital form – on the deck of the Phoenix Lander, and another was flown aboard Russia's MIR space station. Carroll is the 2006 recipient of the Lucien Rudaux Award for lifetime achievement in the Astronomical Arts. He lives with his artist/sometimes-coauthor wife, Caroline, in Littleton, Colorado.