on 2 March 2013
This looks like a self-published work - spelling mistakes, strange grammar, poor punctuation. A few of the illustrations are rather wonky amateur pencil sketches. It's amazing that a publishing house like Springer let this one slip out in this condition; they must be economizing on sub-editors.
The "deep space propulsion" section doesn't start until page 139. The "roadmap to interstellar flight" is a sketchy final chapter. The first hundred pages discuss topics as diverse as aircraft design, the planets of the solar system, evolution, and the design of the British Interplanetary Society 1930s lunar lander. The author seems to be a bit vexed that Pluto is no longer a planet, but misunderstands why its status was changed.
The discussion of deep space propulsion is an odd mixture of detail (lots of handy equations, if you are prepared to trust them in the presence of such poor editing), and skimpiness. We have engines here that produce neutrons and gamma rays, but there's essentially no information on the practicalities of shielding a crew from radiation, for instance. Huge lasers are introduced, but with no discussion of how you might build or power such a thing, where you would put it and how you would aim it over large distances.
Needs a good editor and a more systematic approach.
on 13 March 2015
Deep Space Propulsion is the title of the book, yet surprisingly little of it actually adresses this topic. The book contains a broad set of essay-like chapters about many topics, including spaceflight history, extrasolar planets and various means of propulsion for solar system travel. It also shows many concepts for spacecraft of various levels of sophisitication and quality.
However the style of the book is very non-scientific and inaccurate. The author creates many claims and makes "obvious" assumptions, which are by far not obvious. He e.g. states that it would be nonsense to assume that we would take 300 years of technological advance to reach Jupiter (with human crews), yet does not explain why he is of that opinion. Given the fact that we have not set foot on another celestial body for 45 years, this is not an obvious claim. And this is only one exampled, where the authors enthusiasm clouds his judgement and argumentation. most of the argumentation is made up of such biased assumptions and claims - the fact that one of the presented spacecraft concepts is basically the starship enterprise (include saucer section and warp drive) adds not to his credibility.
There are few formulas used and sometimes they are used profoundly wrong. For instance the author claims that from the equation for relativistic momentum it can be seen that this momentum becomes zero for v = c. But this is wrong and had he analysed this equation, which is even in his book, he would have realized that. It reaches infinity, the direct opposite (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tests_of_relativistic_energy_and_momentum). And therefore the whole argumentation of the author about this subject is invalid. This only adds to the impression of a very shallow level of sophistication and not to the credibility of the British Interplanetary Society. I recommend avoiding this book, which had a promising topic, but turned out to be lame.
on 18 April 2012
K F Long provides a decent overview of a necessarily difficult topic. The propulsion methods covered are beyond our current technology, though the science supporting these approaches is clear. This book provides a useful survey of the current state of knowledge, staying within the borders of known science. The math is not for the faint hearted, however readers who are not comfortable with this can extract the meaning and implications of the equations from the text, and the author is not gratuitously using equations - the subject matter demands it. Personally I am assigning four stars instead of five as the writing style is rather dry.