Saturday, October 02, 2010

Imagining Space 1950-2050

Wow, I'm beating my last month's blog post output in one day this month (3 posts wasn't hard to top). I don't know how I learned about this book, but I ordered a cheap used copy and it arrived the other day (in great condition - I still love Amazon's third-party used book sellers, even as I spend more and more of my  book dollars on e-books). Imagining Space (Achievements - Predictions - Possibilities, 1950-2050) was written by Roger Launius and Howard McCurdy and published in 2001. The text is well written and surprisingly relevant considering all that has happened in the last nine years. The working assumption is that commercial ventures will dominate space development in the first half of the twenty-first century. Not that there won't be setbacks, and we're still a few years from an orbiting Hilton, but that seems to be starting to happen with the current redirection of NASA. It's still a few years to 2050.

The text is good, but the special treat is the great selection of images. There are some photographs but most of the illustrations are paintings by space artists starting of course with the great Chesley Bonestell, who practically defined the space age with his paintings and magazine illustrations in the 1950's. This sort of colorful, large format book still needs to be paper, and preferably hard cover (though I imagine it would look pretty good on an iPad). 

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