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Ask the Astronaut: A Galaxy of Astonishing Answers to Your Questions on Spaceflight Paperback – 22 Mar 2016

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Age Range: 10 - 17 years
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Books (22 Mar. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1588345378
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588345370
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 969,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


The former space shuttle astronaut and planetary scientist has written a treasure trove of answers to FAQs about modern space flight. The text is well organized, with questions categorized into chapters that explain the different steps in the process of aspiring to, training for, and living and working in space. Jones answers scores of questions that he has received over the years at public forums, from "Where should we send astronauts next in space?" to "Have astronauts ever seen space aliens?" Most of the book focuses on NASA's space shuttle voyages to the International Space Station, because this is Jones's greatest area of experience as an astronaut. The technical descriptions in the answers are a bit complex, but the firsthand details and comprehensive back matter make this an ideal addition to any junior high or high school library. VERDICT A fascinating look at space travel that will excite budding STEM students.-Kelly Kingrey-Edwards, Blinn Junior College, Brenham, TX

A veteran astronaut weighs in on queries ranging from how the universe began to how to pee in a spacesuit. The hundreds of questions are grouped in broadly topical chapters but otherwise arranged in no particular order. They cover an astronaut's qualifications, training, and work; what it feels like to travel into space and to live there; the nature of the universe and our near-future prospects for exploring it. Jones draws on his experiences on four space shuttle flights between 1994 and 2001 for his answers, which are usually fairly lengthy, though he plainly leaves a few things out: if "NASA astronauts wait an average of five years between missions," why were his so much closer together? Will he ever go to space again? "Not if I want to stay married." Still, he often drills down to the nitty-gritty: what's in the International Space Station's tool kit? A long list, beginning with vise grips and including "a crowbar, a fiber optic boroscope, torque tip drivers." He doesn't trumpet personal opinions, but they can be found in lukewarm responses to questions about space camp and space tourism, as well as a cogent argument for continuing our exploration of the high frontier: "We will be struck again by an asteroid." Plenty of small space photos and snapshots of the author and other astronauts at work and play are interspersed. Fine browsing for space geeks. (Nonfiction. 11-14)

About the Author

Tom Jones is a planetary scientist, space consultant, professional speaker, and veteran astronaut who completed four space shuttle missions and three spacewalks. Jones has authored six books, including Sky Walking: An Astronaut's Memoir, and he writes for aerospace magazines such as Air & Space Smithsonian, Aerospace America, Popular Mechanics, and The Planetary Report. A senior research scientist for IHMC, he appears regularly on television news as an expert commentator for space exploration and science stories.

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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com

Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars 28 reviews
4.0 out of 5 starsAn interesting and fun book
11 November 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
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Michael S. Seedman
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat book, nicely written
19 May 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
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One person found this helpful.
Tracy Morrison
5.0 out of 5 starsHe said Dr Jones is cool. Did you know he didn't make it in ...
12 June 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
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Rich H.
5.0 out of 5 starsExcellent book for young adults
1 May 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
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barbie j gourley
5.0 out of 5 starsFive Stars
7 October 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
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