I am certainly one of the many who has a deep fascination with space. From the wonders of our own solar system to the mind-boggling beyond, that makes me stare off into the vast distance as if I could see what lies at the end of the universe. Yet, this book is not so much about the wonders of space, but instead of the remarkable people who allowed us a closer look at it; the rocket scientists and engineers.
Here is my review on Journey Beyond Selene.
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The Short Summary
As I said, this book is about the rocket scientists and engineers who sent probes into space to measure certain things with devices as simple as thermometers to the more complex devices which I am still trying to understand. Of course, these probes not only did something in regards to numbers but they also took pictures.
These pictures not only gave the scientists back on earth a chance to extrapolate what was happening on planets and moons, but they also gave us, the average people, a chance to see these planets and moons for ourselves.
The book keeps a focus on the JPL, Jet Propulsion Laboratory. From their stresses to succeed, both from the reporters and especially the government. It talks about how their failures marked them, how their successes saved and the various people who put it all together.
The book is not about astronauts, but about the people who put them into space. The geniuses slapped together rockets even on extremely tight budgets so that we could learn a bit more about our solar system.
It starts with their endeavours to reach the moon with a suicide rocket which would take photos before it was vaporized on contact with the orbiting body. As the title of the book suggests, they then set their sights beyond Selene.
The writing style is something I really have to commend.
Not only did it take something as complex as rocket science and explain it in a casual, easy-to-understand manner, but it also made it interesting. As a reader, I now understand the kinds of stress that the JPL geniuses had, along with the problems that they encountered. How the smallest things could derail a rocket.
In keeping with this style, the writer was able to deliver more complex parts of how and why without having to give me a course on the science of space and its effects on the rocket’s systems.
Unlike a lot of non-fiction I’ve read on space, Journey Beyond Selene was written for the average reader, not the average student or space boffin.
There are many elements of this book I can applaud, but there is one above all others.
It is the fact that the author gave me a perspective of the space expeditions that wasn’t so glamorous but was truly important. It gave me a new sense of what it took to venture into space and develop real respect for the scientists and engineers that made it happen.
The scientists and engineers that were entrusted with billions of dollars, serious responsibility and heavier still, the expectations of their country. With this new perspective, I will not just marvel at the bravery of astronauts, but the brilliance of the people who put them in space.
Not only that, but the people who accomplished so much with technology that many consider inferior to the technology we have today.
To conclude, Journey Beyond Selene is a worthy addition to any bookshelf.
Anyone interested in space and especially the efforts of the people at JPL will find this book interesting, enlightening and even thrilling. It’s a book that will not only give you that childish sense of wonder when it comes to space but that sense of wonder when it comes to science and engineering, and the incredible feats of such knowledge.
Thank you for reading this review and I hope it inspires you to check out this fantastic book.
Good day, goodnight and happy reading!