Even though no little men have been found on Mars (or goddesses on Venus), our celestial neighborhood is stranger than anyone ever imagined. New information from robot probes and telescopes has exploded ideas taken for granted for years. In Solar System verified facts are illustrated in amazing photos: rainfalls of diamonds on Neptune; dust storms stirred by 6,000-mph winds on Jupiter; Saturn’s 30-plus moons. Also shown: everyday occurrences on Venus that would be life-ending catastrophes on earth, and close-ups of long-ago river systems on Mars. Each planet appears in paintings based on you-are-there realism, backed by new introductions by leading scientists explaining how the solar system began and what it teaches us about our own planet.
Solar System is a nonfiction adventure story with an emphasis on the great human adventure. As the book says, “There is philosophy, and hope, in this great enterprise [of planetary exploration]. What a tribute to the human mind it is! We can project our consciousness to the moons of Jupiter and light-years beyond, to the edges of the universe! For such a species, there is hope indeed.”
From the Author
Space exploration is an important and arguably essential part of the destiny of humankind. It’s an exciting adventure that energizes the precious human gift of wonder. The sense of awe and admiration that comes from witnessing the vastness and diversity of nature is one of the precious side benefits enjoyed by the scientists and engineers with whom I have spent much of my professional career. These are among the reasons that I designed Solar System as I did. I determined to describe the marvellous discoveries we are making out there and the ways in which we are discovering them – with Earth telescopes as well as with spacecraft.
Quite by coincidence, when the book was nearly finished, I learned that Solar System includes information relative to the “space studies” categories specified by the National Research Council Space Studies Board – “planetary and lunar exploration; space systems; technology; earth studies; astrobiology; astronomy and astrophysics; human exploration of space; international space programs; solar and space physics; science policy; life and microgravity sciences.” It also, as recommended for high school science by the National Science Teachers Association, addresses the very important “interactions between science, technology, and society.” Naturally I was delighted to think that a book written for enjoyment by all age groups would likely be educational as well.
- United States
- United Kingdom
All those fortunate enough to have worked with Nigel Hey…know he has an eclectic mind, deeply interested in science and philosophy and always reaching outward. How fitting then that Nigel’s [new] book…is about the ‘out there,’ our solar system.
Ken Frazier, author, Solar System
A beautiful book, very well written, packed with new material, and very nicely illustrated.
Pascal Lee, NASA Ames Research Center/SETI Institute