No Man’s Sky: 12 Books for the Space Traveler

The new video game No Man’s Sky allow players to traverse the galaxy and explore algorithmically generated planets teaming with various environments, lifeforms and materials. For the people who are interested in space travel check out any of these 12 books on the topic. If it is not enough to quell your exploration wants, stop by and talk to a librarian who will happily help you find more materials on the topic.

Space chronicles : facing the ultimate frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson
TL789.8.U5 T97 2012

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a rare breed of astrophysicist, one who can speak as easily and brilliantly with popular audiences as with professional scientists. This book represents the best of Tyson’s commentary, including a candid new introductory essay on NASA and partisan politics, giving us an eye-opening manifesto on the importance of space exploration for America’s economy, security, and morale. Thanks to Tyson’s fresh voice and trademark humor, his insights are as delightful as they are provocative, on topics that range from the missteps that shaped our recent history of space travel to how aliens, if they existed, might go about finding us.


Beyond : our future in space by Chris Impey
TL793 .I468 2015

A dazzling and propulsive voyage through space and time, Beyond reveals how centuries of space explorers–from the earliest stargazers to today’s cutting-edge researchers–all draw inspiration from an innate human emotion: wanderlust. This urge to explore led us to multiply around the globe, and it can be traced in our DNA.

Combining expert knowledge of astronomy and avant-garde technology, Chris Impey guides us through the heady possibilities for the next century of exploration. In twenty years, a vibrant commercial space industry will be operating. In thirty years, there will be small but viable colonies on the Moon and Mars. In fifty years, mining technology will have advanced enough to harvest resources from asteroids. In a hundred years, a cohort of humans born off-Earth will come of age without ever visiting humanity’s home planet. This is not the stuff of science fiction but rather the logical extension of already available technologies.


Time travel and warp drives : a scientific guide to shortcuts through time and space by Allen Everett and Thomas A. Roman
QC173.59.S65 E94 2012

In Time Travel and Warp Drives , Allen Everett and Thomas A. Roman take readers on a clear, concise tour of our current understanding of the nature of time and space–and whether or not we might be able to bend them to our will. Using no math beyond high school algebra, the authors lay out an approachable explanation of Einstein’s special relativity, then move through the fundamental differences between traveling forward and backward in time and the surprising theoretical connection between going back in time and traveling faster than the speed of light. They survey a variety of possible time machines and warp drives, including wormholes and warp bubbles, and, in a dizzyingly creative chapter, imagine the paradoxes that could plague a world where time travel was possible–killing your own grandfather is only one of them!


Final frontier : the pioneering science and technology of exploring the universe by Brian Clegg
TL793 .C629 2014

Human beings are natural explorers, and nowhere is this frontier spirit stronger than in the United States of America. It almost defines the character of the US. But the Earth is running out of frontiers fast.

In Brian Clegg’s The Final Frontier we discover the massive challenges that face explorers, both human and robotic, to uncover the current and future technologies that could take us out into the galaxy and take a voyage of discovery where no one has gone before… but one day someone will. In 2003, General Wesley Clark set the nation a challenge to produce the technology that would enable new pioneers to explore the galaxy. That challenge is tough — the greatest we’ve ever faced. But taking on the final frontier does not have to be a fantasy.


Packing for Mars : the curious science of life in the void by Mary Roach
QH327 .R63 2010

Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As Mary Roach discovers, it’s possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.


The Copernicus complex : our cosmic significance in a universe of planets and probabilities by Caleb Scharf
QB981 .S34 2014

In The Copernicus Complex , the renowned astrophysicist Caleb Scharf takes us on a scientific adventure, from tiny microbes within the Earth to distant exoplanets, probability theory, and beyond, arguing that there is a solution to this contradiction, a third way of viewing our place in the cosmos, if we weigh the evidence properly. As Scharf explains, we do occupy an unusual time in a 14-billion-year-old universe, in a somewhat unusual type of solar system surrounded by an ocean of unimaginable planetary diversity:hot Jupiters with orbits of less than a day, planet-size rocks spinning around dead stars, and a wealth of alien super-Earths. Yet life here is built from the most common chemistry in the universe, and we are a snapshot taken from billions of years of biological evolution. Bringing us to the cutting edge of scientific discovery, Scharf shows how the answers to fundamental questions of existence will come from embracing the peculiarity of our circumstance without denying the Copernican vision.


Life in space : astrobiology for everyone by Lucas John Mix
QH326 .M59 2009

A truly interdisciplinary endeavor, astrobiology looks at the evidence of astronomy, biology, physics, chemistry, and a host of other fields. A grand narrative emerges, beginning from the smallest, most common particles yet producing amazing complexity and order. Lucas Mix is a congenial guide through the depths of astrobiology, exploring how the presence of planets around other stars affects our knowledge of our own planet; how water, carbon, and electrons interact to form life as we know it; and how the processes of evolution and entropy act upon every living thing.


Why Mars : NASA and the politics of space exploration by Henry Lambright
TL799.M3 L36 2014

Mars has captured the human imagination for decades. Since NASA’s establishment in 1958, the space agency has looked to Mars as a compelling prize, the one place, beyond the Moon, where robotic and human exploration could converge. Remarkably successful with its roaming multi-billion-dollar robot, Curiosity, NASA’s Mars program represents one of the agency’s greatest achievements.

The quest for Mars stretches over many years and involves billions of dollars. What does it take to mount and give coherence to a multi-mission, big science program? How do advocates and decision makers maintain goals and adapt their programs in the face of opposition and budgetary stringency? Where do they succeed in their strategies? Where do they fall short? Lambright’s insightful book suggests that from Mars exploration we can learn lessons that apply to other large-scale national endeavors in science and technology.


Dreams of other worlds : the amazing story of unmanned space exploration by Chris Impey
QB500.262 .I66 2013

Dreams of Other Worlds describes the unmanned space missions that have opened new windows on distant worlds. Spanning four decades of dramatic advances in astronomy and planetary science, this book tells the story of eleven iconic exploratory missions and how they have fundamentally transformed our scientific and cultural perspectives on the universe and our place in it.

The journey begins with the Viking and Mars Exploration Rover missions to Mars, which paint a startling picture of a planet at the cusp of habitability. It then moves into the realm of the gas giants with the Voyager probes and Cassini’s ongoing exploration of the moons of Saturn. The Stardust probe’s dramatic round-trip encounter with a comet is brought vividly to life, as are the SOHO and Hipparcos missions to study the Sun and Milky Way. This stunningly illustrated book also explores how our view of the universe has been brought into sharp focus by NASA’s great observatories–Spitzer, Chandra, and Hubble–and how the WMAP mission has provided rare glimpses of the dawn of creation.


Red rover : inside the story of robotic space exploration, from Genesis to the Mars rover curiosity by Roger Wiens
TL1097 .W54 2013

In its eerie likeness to Earth, Mars has long captured our imaginations–both as a destination for humankind and as a possible home to extraterrestrial life. It is our twenty-first century New World; its explorers robots, shipped 350 million miles from Earth to uncover the distant planet’s secrets.
Its most recent scout is Curiosity–a one-ton, Jeep-sized nuclear-powered space laboratory–which is now roving the Martian surface to determine whether the red planet has ever been physically capable of supporting life. In Red Rover , geochemist Roger Wiens, the principal investigator for the ChemCam laser instrument on the rover and veteran of numerous robotic NASA missions, tells the unlikely story of his involvement in sending sophisticated hardware into space, culminating in the Curiosity rover’s amazing journey to Mars.


Hubble : a journey through space and time by Edward John Weller
QB500.268 .W45 2010

NASA’s first book on the Hubble Space Telescope marks the 20th anniversary of one of history’s most important scientific tools. Here is Hubble’s great visual legacy to humanity in stunning images that are benchmarks of astronomy and photography. Of the more than 100 classic Hubble images that were selected by NASA’s experts, the 20 most significant are accompanied by commentaries by notable scientists. Veteran astronauts from NASA’s five remarkable manned missions to maintain the telescope also contribute to this volume, making it an authoritative account of a magnificent scientific achievement. Beyond its scientific contributions, twenty years of Hubble research and imagery–ranging from our planetary neighbors to the edge of time and space–have had a profound impact on the world’s imagination and spiritual growth, as documented in this inspiring book.


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