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Book Review: Mars Rover Curiosity: An Inside Account from Curiosity's Chief Engineer, by Rob Manning and William Simon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/06/20 10:00 CDT | 1 comment

I am both elated and relieved that Rob Manning and William Simon have written Mars Rover Curiosity: An Inside Account from Curiosity's Chief Engineer. The book delivers on the promise of its title, in a slender volume that is full of great stories you'll read nowhere else.

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On writing Infinitesimal

Posted by Amir Alexander on 2014/05/08 02:59 CDT | 2 comments

Amir Alexander's new book about an epic battle over a mathematical concept that shook the old order and shaped the world as we know it.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 12: Encyclopedia Galactica
In which we ponder the existence of others

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/02/05 04:55 CST | 8 comments

Cosmos returns in fine form in its penultimate episode. Sagan explores the historical and scientific precedents for the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI) and our human desires to not be alone in the universe.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 11: The Persistence of Memory
In which we don't understand intelligence

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/27 11:55 CST | 7 comments

Cosmos stumbles with an episode that is plodding, scattered, and more than a little preachy. This episode will only persist in my memory as a shadow of what could have been.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 10: The Edge of Forever
In which we contemplate the end of all things

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/21 06:55 CST | 11 comments

Carl Sagan takes us from the birth to the death of the universe. How do we reconcile our place within a universe that will die? Join us for the latest discussion on episode 10 of Cosmos.

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Book Review: This Is Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/14 01:14 CST | 2 comments

This is Mars is a stunning book that treats the HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as an art photographer, exploring the variety of shapes and patterns created by wind, water, impacts, and gravity on the Martian surface.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 9: The Lives of the Stars
In which we are star stuff

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/12/24 03:11 CST | 3 comments

This episode highlights the other big idea in Cosmos: that we are profoundly connected with the universe around us. Our constituent parts are forged in the bellies of massive stars; we exist through their deaths.

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Book reviews: On habitable environments, and the rovers that explore them

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/21 09:25 CST | 2 comments

I've got some books to recommend on astrobiology, planet Earth and its living creatures, impact cratering, and Mars rovers.

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Book Review: Alien Seas, and so much more

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/19 02:42 CST

Alien Seas is ostensibly a book about "oceans in space," but it delivers so much more. The slender volume contains essays by many active planetary scientists who also happen to be excellent writers, each one of them playing a different riff on the idea of oceans in different environments in the solar system.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 8: Journeys Through Space and Time
Are we imprisoned in both?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/12/17 03:00 CST | 6 comments

Sagan makes us confront the limitations of our mortality given the immensities of space and time presented to us by the cosmos.

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My Cosmos review will be delayed this week

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/12/11 08:44 CST

A variety of AGU matters and unexpected political work and coverage will delay the Cosmos reviews by a week.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 7: The Backbone of Night
In which we return to cosmos

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/12/03 02:55 CST | 3 comments

We return to the big idea of the series – that the universe can be known and we better ourselves in our efforts to understand it – in the best episode of Cosmos so far.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 6: Travellers' Tales
Voyager is the ultimate expression of our desire to explore

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/11/25 03:56 CST | 12 comments

The Voyager mission may be the ultimate expression of our desire to explore, but why does that will exist in the first place? Why is it unique to humans?

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Reviews of toys for kids of space geeks

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/25 10:00 CST

Have kids to buy gifts for? I review some space-themed toys for kids age 1 to 12 or so: the Snap Circuits Deluxe Rover; astronaut costume accessories; the latest incarnation of Astronaut Barbie; and Lift Off Rocket Play Set. I also have a few construction toys to recommend.

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Reviews of space-themed books for children

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/13 10:50 CST

It's time for my annual roundup of reviews of space-themed books for children! I have lots of fiction and nonfiction books to recommend, for toddlers to teens.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 5: Blues for a Red Planet
Where Mars stubbornly refuses to be what we desire

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/11/12 02:24 CST | 12 comments

Episode 5 focuses on Mars, the planet that has stubbornly refused to conform to the wishes of humanity for hundreds of years, from Lowell to Sagan. Grab your cosmo and join our discussion of 'Blues for a Red Planet.'

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 4: Heaven & Hell
In which face the consequences of our own knowledge

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/11/04 11:53 CST | 7 comments

Humans face the consequences of our own knowledge about the cosmos in this latest episode recap and analysis of Carl Sagan's classic series.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 3: The Harmony of the Worlds
In which Mars changes the course of human history

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/10/29 03:33 CDT | 7 comments

We continue our analysis of Cosmos as we jump back in time to see the birth of modern science with Johannes Kepler or, as Sagan calls it, the first fusion of "imagination with observation." Welcome to Episode 3: The Harmony of the Worlds.

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Book review: LEGO Space: Building the Future

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/23 08:03 CDT | 4 comments

This book is so great. I cannot imagine how many hours of happy building went into the development of the various LEGO ships and space bases included in this book, but I wish I could have participated.

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The "Starship Century" Beckons
Gregory and James Benford return to Planetary Radio

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/10/01 10:30 CDT

The Benford brothers provide inspiration and hard fact in their excellent new anthology about interstellar travel.

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