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on 14 November 1998
I was eagerly anticipating reading this book, and it was okay when I began, and there are many good, interesting, and even exciting ideas throughout the book. However, for some reason, I kept coming away from a reading of the book with a sort of "flat" almost bored feeling. The author himself, I support totally (especially in his involvement in the SpaceDev companies plans for "commercial space development"). I would still recommend this book to anyone intersted in space, and especially commercial development of space (esp. of course in relation to asteroids, etc.), my own feelings on reading the book nonwithstanding. Almost certainly good for those looking for expert sources, research, etc.
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on 18 February 2000
This book is a pretty comprehensive look at ways in which the resources of entire solar system can be harvested rather than many other books which focus exclusively on Mars or the Moon. The explanations are pretty good, requiring no more than a basic understanding of chemistry and physics and the ideas in the book will inspire almost anyone who is unsure of the value of space. My only criticism is that although the content is very good, the style of writing can be a little uninspiring and the short stories which preceed each chapter can be a little lame.
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on 28 July 2007
A short way into this book, I went to the back of the book to see if the author is a journalist or a real scientist. That's because it was so well written. He's a scientist alright. And, it wasn't long before I encountered the dense exposition I expected.

So, there's a dusting of light reading, especially the scifi scenes that serve as introductions to each chapter. The craftsmanship of those would make a professional scifi writer envious.

Then there's the info-packed core of each chapter. My chemistry and astrophysics is practically non-existant and I couldn't keep up, but I got the gist of it. I still appreciated the effort to explain things. Other authors would skip the explanation and merely state the conclusion. That would leave me wondering how trustworthy that statement was.

In the end, I felt I had a good overview of how the future might take shape.

I should warn you of that, at the start of the book, the author presents a version of 15th century Chinese explorations (he doesn't mention the name 'Zheng He') that is a little shakey historically. But blaming "the court eunuchs" makes too good a metaphor to let that get in the way. However, for a couple chapters at the end of the book he turns preachy -- essentially labelling dissenters from expansion into space as "court eunuchs", then disassociating himself from the political left and right by sloppily redefining their positions. I guess he couldn't trust us to make our own way thru political thickets. Fortunately, the just-the-facts bulk of the book make up for these few tantrums.
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on 11 April 2013
It seems quite clear that man's future lies in the spaces between planets, employing the easily reached resources in asteroids to build habitable structures. John S Lewes, professor of Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona, is the acknowledged expert on asteroids and comets, what resources they offer. He deftly compares the costs of mining near Earth asteroids (NEOs) compared to winning materials and water from the Moon. Lewes indulges himself with quirky forewords to may chapters written from the perspective of the next century, which I found rather off-putting, until justified by material in the later chapters.

Lewes is keen for readers to grasp the astronomical numbers, explaining for instance that shared equally between the 7 billion people on Earth today, your own share of the iron in asteroids is worth £5 billion. Or that if we chose to build an O'Neil cylindrical habitat 5 miles in diameter, there are resources enough to make it several billion miles in length - if you chose to drive your car from one end of the cylinder to the other, the trip might take 30,000 years. And Lewes estimates we have resources to accommodate 10 million times Earth's current population.

I read that Deep Space Industries, a business formed in January 2013 with the aim of mapping and commercially exploiting asteroids, has more recently made John S Lewes their chief scientist.

This is a facinating book with mind-boggling ideas all carefully explained. It cannot help but change your view about the problems that confront people with earth-bound horizons.
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on 22 January 1998
Mr. Lewis, Professor of Planetery Science at the University of Arizona knows his stuff when it comes to outer space and its natural resources and how to economically get there and how to make a profit from them.
Readers will be amazed at the enormous wealth that lies within just a few short Astro-Units from Earth.
The comment from Space News is that the book is "mind stretching" and it certainly is. The book is a real page turner and the technical stuff is easy and fun to understand.
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on 23 November 1998
For those who wonder why some people make a fuss about space exploration, this book provides answers. For those who are enthusiastic already, this book will help convince your friends. Easily readable, this book contains a wealth of detail about the solar system, what the moon and different types of asteroids are made of and how the material can be accessed and used. Highly recommended.
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on 8 June 2013
While I read this book with much interest, I felt it is far too outdated to be relevant nowadays you're better of just looking at Google news' science section. Inspiring to read nonetheless.
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on 16 January 2016
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