Human Space Exploration Resources

  Available at the LPI Library

Resources for:

These are just a few of the many resources available from our library.
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Resources for a General Audience

The Case for Space: How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up a Future of Limitless Possibility

Robert Zubrin
Prometheus Books, 2019, 395 pages

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Noted space expert Robert Zubrin explains the current revolution in spaceflight, where it will lead, and why we need it. Zubrin shows how projects that sound like science fiction can actually become reality. In this book he makes a compelling case for why we need to explore space — to increase our knowledge of the universe, to make unforeseen discoveries on new frontiers, to harness the natural resources of other planets, to safeguard Earth from stray asteroids, and to ensure the future of humanity by expanding beyond its home base.

Heroes of the Space Age: Incredible Stories of the Famous and Forgotten Men and Women Who Took Humanity to the Stars

Rod Pyle
Prometheus Books, 2019, 299 pages

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A NASA insider tells the exciting story of the people, both well-known and unrecognized, who were responsible for so many daring space missions. Award-winning science writer Rod Pyle profiles the remarkable pilots, scientists, and engineers whose work was instrumental in space missions to every corner of our solar system and beyond.

Origins of 21st Century Space Travel: A History of NASA’s Decadal Planning Team and the Vision for Space Exploration, 1994–2004

Glen R. Asner and Stephen J. Garber
NASA Office of Communications, History Division, 2019, 250 pages

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As early as April 1999, NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin had established the Decadal Planning Team (DPT) to provide a forum for future NASA leaders to begin considering goals more ambitious than sending humans on missions to near-Earth destinations and robotic spacecraft to far-off destinations, with no relation between the two. This book provides a detailed historical account of the ideas, debates, and decisions that opened the way for a new generation of spaceflight at the start of the 21st century.

Mission Moon 3-D: Reliving the Great Space Race

David J. Eicher and Brian May
MIT Press, 2018, 191 pages

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This book celebrates not only 50 years since the first human steps on the Moon, but the achievements of the all Soviet and American heroes who risked and sometimes lost their lives in the race to the Moon. The book features spectacular unseen 3-D images carefully constructed by Brian May from the astronauts’ own photographs, and the book includes a free viewer designed by May.

The Penguin Book of Outer Space Exploration: NASA and the Incredible Story of Human Spaceflight

John Logsdon, editor
Penguin Books, 2018, 374 pages

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Renowned space historian John Logsdon traces the greatest moments in human spaceflight by weaving together essential, fascinating documents from NASA’s history with his expert narrative guidance. Beginning with rocket genius Wernher von Braun’s vision for voyaging to Mars, and closing with Elon Musk’s contemporary plan to get there, this volume traces major events like the founding of NASA, the first American astronauts in space, the Apollo Moon landings, the Challenger disaster, the daring Hubble Telescope repairs, and more.

How to Live in Space: Everything you Need to Know for the Not-So-Distant Future

Colin Stuart
Smithsonian Books, 2018, 192 pages

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This book is an amusing and informative illustrated guide to life beyond our own planet that covers everything from training for and living in space to the future of space travel and tourism. Grounded in space science, planetary biology, and rocket science, this accessible guide propels readers through takeoff, life in orbit, terraforming, and the long-term effects of space on the human body.

The Smithsonian History of Space Exploration: From the Ancient World to the Extraterrestrial Future

Roger D. Launius
Smithsonian Books, 2018, 400 pages

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This book provides an in-depth, fully illustrated history of global space discovery and exploration from ancient times to the modern era. Space historian Roger D. Launius examines the thousands of years that humans have endeavored to understand the universe, including the pioneering work undertaken by the ancients of Greece, Rome, and China; the great astronomical discoveries of Renaissance thinkers such as Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler; and the technological and mechanical breakthroughs that have enabled the human race to explore far beyond our own planet in recent decades.

Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, From Missiles to the Moon to Mars

Nathalia Holt
Little, Brown and Company, 2016, 338 pages

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In the 1940s and 1950s, when the Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible. For the first time, Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the stories of these women — known as “human computers” — who broke the boundaries of both gender and science. Based on extensive research and interviews with all the living members of the team, this book offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science: both where we’ve been, and the far reaches of space to which we’re heading.

Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon, Revised Edition

Colin Burgess and Kate Doolan
University of Nebraska Press, 2016, 386 pages

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Many people are aware of the first manned Apollo mission, in which Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee lost their lives in a fire during a ground test, but few know of five other fallen astronauts whose stories this book tells as well. Their stories return us to a stirring time in the history of our nation and remind us of the cost of fulfilling our dreams. This revised edition includes expanded and revised biographies and additional photographs.

Human Space Exploration: Early Assessments of NASA’s Next Steps

Darrel Gibbs, editor
Nova Science Publishers, 2015, 84 pages

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This book examines the scope of NASA’s preliminary cost estimates for the Space Launch System and Orion capsule that will continue human space exploration beyond low-Earth Orbit.

Humans Orbiting Mars, A Critical Step Toward the Red Planet: A Workshop

Prepared by Scott Hubbard, John Logsdon, Casey Dreier, and Jason Callahan
The Planetary Society, 2015, 45 pages

Available online  

In 2014, the National Academies released a report that concluded that NASA’s current plans for getting humans to Mars could not happen earlier than 2046 without a massive (and unlikely) increase to the human spaceflight program’s budget. The Planetary Society held a workshop in 2015 to explore a proof-of-concept plan which could get humans near Mars over a decade sooner. An orbit-first concept would send astronauts near the Moon throughout the 2020s, to Mars orbit and Phobos in 2033, and finally to the surface of Mars by 2039 to begin an ongoing program of exploration. Humans Orbiting Mars is the report of that workshop.

Survival and Sacrifice in Mars Exploration: What We Know from Polar Expeditions

Erik Seedhouse
Springer, 2015, 163 pages

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The experience gained in polar exploration more than 100 years ago provides space mission crews and planners with a framework to deal with contingencies, and that idea forms the core of this book. Why the parallels between polar and space exploration? Polar exploration offers a better analogy for a Mars mission today than those invoked by the space community. Mars-bound astronauts will be close in their roles to polar explorers, and as much as space has been described as a new frontier, Mars bears greater similarity to the polar regions. So much can be learned from those who ventured there.

Rockets and Revolution: A Cultural History of Early Spaceflight

Michael G. Smith
University of Nebraska Press, 2014, 431 pages

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This book offers a multifaceted study of the race toward space in the first half of the twentieth century, examining how the Russian, European, and American pioneers competed against one another in the early years to acquire the fundamentals of rocket science, engineer simple rockets, and ultimately prepare the path for human spaceflight.

Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration

National Research Council
National Academies Press, 2014, 258 pages

Purchase on Amazon   Available online from the National Academies Press  

Pathways to Exploration explores the case for advancing human space exploration, drawing on the history and rationales for human spaceflight, examining the attitudes of stakeholders and the public, and carefully assessing the technical and fiscal realities. This report provides a clear map toward a human spaceflight program that inspires by furthering human exploration and discovery while taking into account the long-term commitment necessary to achieve this goal.

NASA: 50 Years of Space Exploration

Madacy Entertainment Group, 2005, five DVDs (11 hours and 6 minutes)

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This comprehensive five-DVD collector’s edition tells the epic story of the first 50 years of NASA and American space exploration like never before. It covers the most thrilling moments in U.S. space exploration, while also examining the heartbreaking events when tragedy struck our heroes.

Resources for Kids

Blast Off into Space Like Mae Jemison

Caroline Moss
Frances Lincoln, 2020, 64 pages

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Discover how astronaut Mae Jemison became the first African American woman in space in this true story of her life and learn 10 key lessons from her work that you can apply to your own life. This is a book for all kids interested in space exploration and wanting to forge their own career path in STEM fields.

Mission to Space

John Herrington
Chickasaw Press, 2016, 24 pages

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Astronaut John Herrington shares his passion for space travel and his Chickasaw heritage as he describes his astronaut training and mission to the International Space Station. He explains what it takes to train for spaceflight and describes the tasks he completed in space and his spacewalk 220 miles above Earth. This unique book includes photographs from his training and space travel and has an English-to-Chickasaw vocabulary list with space-related terms.

Ask the Astronaut: A Galaxy of Astonishing Answers to Your Questions on Spaceflight

Tom Jones
Smithsonian Books, 2016, 264 pages

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Ever wondered what space is really like? Astronaut and spacewalker Tom Jones answers that question and many others in this engaging book. Jones answers every question you have ever had about space. His entertaining blend of wit, personal experience, and technical expertise shines in each answer, and together all the answers illuminate the true space experience from start to finish.

The Astronaut Instruction Manual: Practical Skills for Future Space Explorers

Mike Mongo
Inkshares, Inc., 2015, 71 pages

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This book by space enthusiast Mike Mongo is an actual working astronaut instruction manual. It was created to let today’s space-loving young students who want to live, work, and play in space know that they genuinely do have that opportunity.

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