Category Archives: Science

Wednesday’s Book Review: “A Scientific Peak: How Boulder Became a World Center for Space and Atmospheric Science”


A Scientific Peak: How Boulder Became a World Center for Space and Atmospheric Science. By Joseph R. Bassi. Boston: American Meteorological Society, 2015. Abbreviations and acronyms, archives consulted, foreword, acknowledgments, images, notes, index. 246 pages. Paperback. ISBN: 978-1-935704-85-0. $35.00 USD. Joseph … Continue reading

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The Total Coolness of the Stardust Sample Return Mission


Stardust was the first U.S. space mission dedicated solely to returning extraterrestrial material from beyond the Moon. It was launched on February 7, 1999, on a 3 billion-mile roundtrip it rendezvoused with Comet Wild 2, captured comet and interstellar dust … Continue reading

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Homer Newell and the Early Post-War Space Science Program


Homer E. Newell (1915-1983) is one of the NASA leaders I am profiling in a book I have underway. His career was remarkable. He earned his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Wisconsin in 1940 and served as a theoretical … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Beyond UFOs: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life and Its Astonishing Implications for Our Future”


Beyond UFOs: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life and Its Astonishing Implications for Our Future. By Jeffrey Bennett. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008. Preface, acknowledgments, photographs, bibliography, and index. ISBN: 978-0-691-13549-6, 211 pages, $26.95 hardcover with dust jacket. While the … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Science Talk: Changing Notions of Science in American Culture”


Science Talk: Changing Notions of Science in American Culture. By Daniel Patrick Thurs. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2007, paperback reprint 2008. Vii + 237 pgs., acknowledgments, introduction, notes, index. ISBN: 978-0-8135-4420-5, $27.95 paperback. Science is one element of … Continue reading

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Sputnik and Free Overflight in Space


It came like a shock to the system on October 4, 1957. The Soviet Union launched a beach ball-sized orbital satellite to usher in the “Space Age.” The act in itself proved neither particularly shocking nor threatening but what it … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age”


Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age. By Matthew Brzezinski. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2007. The fiftieth anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957, sparked the publication of … Continue reading

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The Surveyor Landers on the Moon


Like so many other point of intersection, soft landing on the Moon with robotic probes proved a venue for Cold War competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The Soviets won that competition February 3, … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Seeing Like a Rover”


Seeing Like a Rover: How Robots, Teams, and Images Craft Knowledge of Mars. By Janet Vertesi. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Acknowledgments, illustrations, appendices, notes, bibliography, index. 304 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. ISBN-13: 978-0226155968. $33.25 USD. Janet Vertesi, now assistant … Continue reading

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NASA Viking Missions to Mars Retrospective on C-SPAN


In July 2016 NASA’s Langley Research Center celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Viking program, which placed two orbiters around the red planet, and landed two spacecraft on tis surface in 1976. Historians William P. Barry, Roger D. Launius, Glenn E. … Continue reading

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