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Space Probes: 50 Years of Exploration from Luna 1 to New Horizons Hardcover – 24 Nov 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books Ltd (24 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554079446
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554079445
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 3.3 x 27.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 203,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Ever since Sputnik made Earth orbit in 1957, mankind has been flinging tiny flecks of metal...farther and farther from home in an effort to get a grip on our solar system's secrets.... Philippe Seguela compiles them all, cataloging each unmanned mission that one or another earthbound nation has hurled toward a heavenly body..... Seguela also looks at spacecraft still in transit, including the Pluto-bound New Horizons. They may look like sci-fi space junk, but Seguela sees the majesty therein: Just like the pyramids and great cathedrals, solar-system space probes represent glorious monuments to human ingenuity.--Aaron Leitko"Washington Post" (11/14/2011)

About the Author

Philippe Seguela is a professor of neuroscience at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. He has been passionate about space exploration for more than 30 years. James Oberg, the NBC News space consultant, is a well-known interpreter of space exploration. He spent 22 years as a NASA space engineer and has written 10 books and more than a thousand articles about space flight.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By New Horizons on 30 April 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this to be great and very informative book. It covers probe missions from the 1950s up till the late 2000s. Useful for anyone who wants know the history of unmanned space flight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By stargazer 1984 on 26 Aug 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book packed full of amazing photos and loads of information. It's such a shame that the mission Juno just missed out on being published in it, but it's still a great read. I think the layout of the book makes it easier to find what you want, and once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. A highly recommended read if you are interested in all space missions, especially those that flew to the Moon and Mars.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
It's a Coffee Table Book! 22 Aug 2012
By TedJ in LA - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the old Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man", the assistant runs to warn her soon-to-be-on-the-menu boss "It's a cookbook!" Unfortunately, that's my reaction to this beautiful but sparsely detailed new book on space probes: "It's a coffee table book!"

The cover makes you salivate for Jane's Space Directory-type descriptions, tables and charts with mission objectives, velocities, distances, encounter dates etc in ten-point pica, but alas, it's not what you get on the inside. Each mission is given a perfunctory 2-6 pages with minimal narrative and full page color illustrations and photos, but only the most basic diagrams of the probes or landers themselves. Technical detail is almost entirely omitted. Interspersed are for-beginners-only one page tributes to Galileo, Magellan, Lowell, Goddard, Carl Sagan, etc with a paragraph or two on who they were. Logically organized and beautifully illustrated and rendered, the book is only a basic -- if comprehensive -- overview of what I regard as the single greatest human accomplishment of my lifetime: the 50 year exploration of every major planet and moon in our solar system.

If you're looking for rich technical detail on the probes themselves or the worlds they've visited, you need to look elsewhere.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Major New Book 24 Nov 2011
By edward belbruno - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am excited about this major new book by Philippe Seguela, the first of its kind on the history of space probes. It is beautifully illustrated and hard to put down. He captures the excitement of space exploration, with detailed descriptions of each space probe, with magnificient illustrations and photographs. It is spellbinding. If you want to learn all about the wonders of space exploration, this is book to buy. This can serve as a reference on the subject for years to come.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is a wonderful history 18 Jan 2012
By Jerry Saperstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It seems that few people feel the excitement today of satellites blasting off into space to explore the dimensions of our Solar System and beyond.

Phillipe Seguela sets forth the history of space probes since their beginning, a mere 53 years ago. In that time, we have gone from having no direct contact with our Moon and companion planets to a point where Pluto will be revealed to some degree in 2015 by a passing probe and we have already examined the Moon, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, the Sun, comets and asteroids and more.

This is a beautifully illustrated volume and Seguela's writing style is easy-to-live with. He packs a lot of information into these pages about technical details of the space probes, their designers, namesakes, the physics of space travel and more.

This is the kind of book I wish was given to more children to excite them about science and technology. I know my young grandson will soon have a copy of his very own and I hope it keeps him company for many hours.

A great history of the international development of space probes.

By R. Childers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I know our society values sports athletes and movie stars, but it is the great minds that produce these kinds of machines and the astounding things they accomplish that should be heralded as supreme beings. This book lavishly points out these achievements with informative prose and beautiful photographs, mostly in color. The book is the size of a thick history or college science book. Everything, including the cover, says quality. Very nice and informative book. It will be one of my favorites in my science and astronomy bookshelf. I'm glad I purchased this one, and you will too. It has information about all previous robotic missions, including New Horizons, which is on it's way to Pluto right now (January 2014) and even talks about future missions. If you like these missions, you will love this book.
Excellent basic reference book. 24 Dec 2013
By RocketOverTexas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book is easy to read and has every probe that you want to know about. period. Very good coverage of Russian probes and European space agency.
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