Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The best books about our future in space

Christopher Wanjek is the author of Bad Medicine and Food at Work. He has written more than 500 articles for the Washington Post, Sky & Telescope, Astronomy, Mercury, and Live Science. From 1998 to 2006, he was a senior writer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, covering the structure and evolution of the universe.

Wanjek's new book is Spacefarers: How Humans Will Settle the Moon, Mars, and Beyond.

At the Guardian he tagged the best books about our space future, including:
It’s no longer a question of whether we’re going to Mars, but when. By the time we reach a second planet – probably in the 2030s – we’ll probably have a base or two on the moon as well. But will people ever live beyond Earth permanently?

Hazards abound on the red planet, a world that is colder and drier than Antarctica and without the luxury of breathable air. Andy Weir provides an excellent picture of the struggle to survive in his novel The Martian. Kim Stanley Robinson takes a deeper dive with his Mars trilogy. The series follows the first 100 settlers, a hand-picked crew of scientists and engineers who gradually transform the climate. There is plenty of engineering and biology, but Robinson broadens into philosophy when he explores how some settlers want to keep Mars pure and red, while others view the life that greens the planet as a gift from humanity. And alternative history is just around the corner when another wave of colonists arrive, dreaming of breaking away from planet Earth.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Mars Trilogy is among Jeff Somers's five top sci-fi novels with reasonably believable futuristic technology. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson is among James Mustich's five notable books on Mars and beyond.

--Marshal Zeringue