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Other titles in the New Series in NASA History series:
Robots in Space: Technology, Evolution, and Interplanetary Travelby Roger D. Launius and Howard E. McCurdy
Synopses & Reviews
Given the near incomprehensible enormity of the universe, it appears almost inevitable that humankind will one day find a planet that appears to be much like the Earth. This discovery will no doubt reignite the lure of interplanetary travel. Will we be up to the task? And, given our limited resources, biological constraints, and the general hostility of space, what shape should we expect such expeditions to take?
In Robots in Space, Roger Launius and Howard McCurdy tackle these seemingly fanciful questions with rigorous scholarship and disciplined imagination, jumping comfortably among the worlds of rocketry, engineering, public policy, and science fantasy to expound upon the possibilities and improbabilities involved in trekking across the Milky Way and beyond. They survey the literature (fictional as well as academic studies) outline the progress of space programs in the United States and other nations, and assess the current state of affairs to offer a conclusion startling only to those who haven't spent time with Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke: to traverse the cosmos, humans must embrace and entwine themselves with advanced robotic technologies.
Their discussion is as entertaining as it is edifying and their assertions are as sound as they are fantastical. Rather than asking us to suspend disbelief, Robots in Space demands that we accept facts as they evolve.
Book News Annotation:
Launis (National Air and Space Museum and former Chief Historian of NASA) and McCurdy (School of Public Affairs, American U., Washington DC), who have both authored and coauthored other books on space exploration and NASA, have written an in-depth account of the development of space exploration and its future, delving into issues of life on other planets and the possibility of human settlements there. They discuss at length the tasks and issues involving robots in space, in part through the stories of such major enterprises as the Space Shuttle and the Mars Rover, the challenges these operations presented, and how they were met. This will be an enjoyable read for any space enthusiast. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Computers and Internet » Artificial Intelligence » Robotics