Trade your eclipse glasses for your reading glasses, and prepare for some out-of-this-world books. From space memoirs to reads that unlock the secrets of the universe, there’s something here to satisfy any space junkie.
For Space Camp Trainees
Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly
A stunning memoir from the astronaut who spent a record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station.
The veteran of four space flights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space, Scott Kelly has experienced things very few have. Now, he takes us inside a sphere utterly inimical to human life. He describes navigating the extreme challenge of long-term spaceflight, both existential and banal: the devastating effects on the body; the isolation from everyone he loves and the comforts of Earth; the pressures of constant close cohabitation; and the catastrophic risks of depressurization or colliding with space junk.
Here, in his personal story, we see the triumph of the human imagination, the strength of the human will, and the boundless wonder of the galaxy.
“An utterly gripping book that can stand comfortably in the company of Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff.” —Charles C. Mann, author of 1491
For Sun Worshipers
Chasing the Sun: The Epic Story of the Star that Gives Us Life by Richard Cohen
In the grand tradition of the scholar-adventurer, acclaimed author Richard Cohen takes us around the world to illuminate our relationship with the star that gives us life. The Sun is present everywhere—in mythology, language, religion, politics, sciences, art, literature, and medicine, even in the ocean’s depths. In this splendidly illustrated volume packed with captivating facts, extraordinary myths, and surprising anecdotes, Cohen not only explains the star that so inspires us, but shows how multifacted our relationship with it has been—and continues to be.
For “Martians” and Pluto-Philes
Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet by Leonard David
The next frontier in space exploration is Mars, the red planet—and human habitation of Mars isn’t much farther off. This companion book to the National Geographic Channel six-part series Mars, explores the science behind the mission and the challenges awaiting those brave individuals. Filled with vivid photographs taken on Earth, in space, and on Mars and commentary from the world’s top planetary scientists, this fascinating book will take you millions of miles away—and decades into the future—to our next home in the solar system.
How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown
The solar system most of us grew up with included nine planets, with Mercury closest to the sun and Pluto at the outer edge. Then, in 2005, astronomer Mike Brown made the discovery of a lifetime: a tenth planet, Eris, slightly bigger than Pluto. But instead of adding one more planet to our solar system, Brown’s find ignited a firestorm of controversy that culminated in the demotion of Pluto from real planet to the newly coined category of “dwarf” planet.
A heartfelt and personal journey filled with both humor and drama, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming is the book for anyone, young or old, who has ever imagined exploring the universe.
For Aspiring Astrophysicists
The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow
When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? What is the nature of reality? Is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation? In this startling and lavishly illustrated book, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present the most recent scientific thinking about these and other abiding mysteries of the universe, in nontechnical language marked by brilliance and simplicity.
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
This playful, entertaining, and mind-bending introduction to modern physics briskly explains Einstein’s general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, and the role humans play in this weird and wonderful world. Carlo Rovelli, a renowned theoretical physicist, is a delightfully poetic and philosophical scientific guide. It’s everything you need to know about the beauty of modern physics in less than 100 pages.
StarTalk by Neil deGrasse Tyson
For decades, beloved astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has interpreted science with a combination of brainpower and charm that resonates with fans everywhere. This pioneering, provocative book brings together the best of StarTalk, his beloved podcast and television show devoted to solving the most confounding mysteries of Earth, space, and what it means to be human.
Fun, smart, and laugh-out-loud funny, this book is the perfect guide to everything you ever wanted to know about the universe—and beyond.
For Those Who Wish the Future Was Now
Vacation Guide to the Solar System by Olivia Koski and Jana Grcevich
Imagine taking a hike along the windswept red plains of Mars to dig for signs of life, or touring one of Jupiter’s sixty-four moons where you can photograph its swirling storms. For a shorter trip on a tight budget, the Moon is quite majestic and very quiet if you can make it during the off-season.
Packed with real science and fueled by imagination Vacation Guide to the Solar System is the must-have planning guide for the curious space adventurer, covering all of the essentials for your next voyage, how to get there, and what to do when you arrive.
For Stargazers Young and Old
What We See in the Stars by Kelsey Oseid
Combining art, mythology, and science, What We See in the Stars gives readers a tour of the night sky through more than 100 magical pieces of original art, all accompanied by text that weaves related legends and lore with scientific facts. This book covers the night sky’s most brilliant features–such as the constellations, the moon, the bright stars, and the visible planets–as well as less familiar celestial phenomena like the outer planets, nebulae, and deep space.