on 3 March 2003
Compelling, inspirational, imaginative, realistic - it's hard to praise this book enough.
For those of us that like to look beyond the everyday chores of life, and strive for something more, this book shows what could be achieved by us and our descendants. Nothing less than claiming the Galaxy!
The author steers away from the more fanciful unscientific notions of other writers in this regard, but without ever losing his grip on the reader's sense of wonder.
Step-by-step he shows us how we can begin our journey into space, starting with technology that we've had for over 30 years.
The book is totally convincing, and by the end you wonder what on Earth we're still doing here.
I recommend this book to anyone who has any imagination!
on 2 April 2002
After "A Case for Mars", I was eager to read more of Zubrin's books on Space Exploration. I was not disappointed.
"Entering Space" starts out by explaining what the author sees as the great shortcomings of the present space exploration strategy persued by national governments, and how all the 'cost-saving' measures have only reduced program effectiveness, but not actual cost. He pleads the case for focussed efforts on the part of governments and the private sector to open up space as the next frontier - for the good of humanity, to not only forestall extinction in case of a meteor impact, but also to rekindle the 'frontier shock' situation which has in the past always catalysed an era of progress, both social and technological. And all with present-say technology.
Zubrin goes on to describe the future course of humanity once it has established itself as a spacefaring civilisation: The Moon, Mars, the outer planets... inspirational stuff indeed. And explained in plausible, understandable terms.
Finally, the last chapters are devoted to interstellar travel, and what may lie beyond. Fusion drive, antimatter engines, magsails - all technology which is possible with our present understanding of physics, and which would make humanity's colonisation of nearby stars possible.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who looks up at a Saturn V rocket and thinks "we flew to the Moon forty years ago... why aren't we doing it today?". Inspirational stuff, indeed.
on 29 January 2016
Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot. It's interesting and thought-provoking, without being overly concerned with details. I found it a much easier read than the same author's "The Case for Mars", which I am currently reading.
There are far more positives than negatives, and I can only think of 2 criticisms. One is the author's justifications for human space exploration and colonization. His main argument seems to boil down to "We explored in the past and we should do it now. It's human nature". While he's certainly technically correct, as a philosophical and/or political justification I find it somewhat wishy-washy. I would have like to have seen more about human eco-vandalism, population explosion, dwindling resources, global war, and commercial interests as topics for discussion which have a strong bearing on our justification for settling on other celestial objects.
The second is that I'd like to expand the author's tripartate division of technological civilizations to include 5 categories. Added to the categories of civilizations who have travelled beyond their mother planet, have colonized their solar system, and who have reached other star systems (categories 1-3), I propose:
4) Civilizations that have colonized their entire local galaxy (or most of it)
5) Civilizations that have developed *inter-galactic* travel (and colonization)
4), and especially 5), represent exponentially greater achievements in all respects than 1-3. I think they should be considered as separate stages of further development/maturity of a space-faring civilization.
The book is also heavily US-biased (for those who may take objection to such things).
But overall well worth a read if this subject at all interests you.
on 2 September 1999
Dr. Robert Zubrin has a talent that is rare amongst rocket scientists: the ability to communicate effectively. Dr. Zubrin shows us that entering space would not merely represent the realized dream of a few rocket scientists and science fiction authors (though undoubtedly that would be the case), but also that it is a natural action made neccessary by a logical examination of the facts. Especially enlightening are his first-hand descriptions of America's aerospace industry and NASA. He provides numerous examples of how we might accomplish the much needed task of entering space and why it is important that we do so. Also included is important information regarding The Mars Society and how the reader can become involved in helping humanity to become a Type II (interplanetary) Civilization.
on 1 September 1999
Bob Zubrin does it again!! Bob is the popular and well-respected author of The Case for Mars, which I love... Entering Space takes things to the next level, detailing why and how we'll move outwards from our cradle, Earth.
A must read for anyone interested in space or who is a space advocate!!
on 10 May 2011
An excellent review of the options for future human spaceflight, displaying a rare combination of technical engineering know-how & business sense as regards what would make an economically sustainable space programme. Readers need to bear in mind when reading the early chapters on options for low/near Earth orbit that Zubrin has a clear "angle" that favours a manned Mars mission as the next "big step" (see "The Case for Mars" by the same author), although to be fair, he makes this quite clear in the present text.
The one downside is that this book is now rather old, so the early chapters on immediate opportunities may feel a little dated (although it is arguably an even greater indictment of national governments that no grand strategy has been proposed in the interim) but the bulk of the book is taken up with longer-term plans for the solar system & beyond, so it is still well worth the purchase price.