Vacation Guide to the Solar System: Science for the Savvy Space Traveler!

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Guidebooks have been around for centuries and are supposed to be non-fictional. Travelogue literature also contains some fictional guidebooks. This one is neither (or both). Written as a travel guide, it takes readers through the planets and prominent moons in the solar system. Drawing heavily on current science and some imagination, readers learn real science as they “journey” through our solar system.

There are nine substantive chapters, and each is portrayed as a possible “destination.” The first one focuses on “visiting” the moon, followed by each of the planets (from closest to the sun to furthest). Pluto is among one of the destinations as well. Each destination chapter starts with a one-page intro followed by a tabulated “At a Glance.” Other sections are “Weather” and “Climate,” “When to Go” (advising best times to “visit” based on climatic events), “Getting There” (the path to get there), “When you Arrive” (first impressions), “Getting Around” (modes of transport on the planet), “What to See” (planet’s main features), and “Activities.” With the exception of the Moon, Mercury, and Venus, other chapters also have “What’s Nearby,” which describes some of the nearby moons.

Two chapters at the beginning of the book (“Countdown” and “Preparing for your Trip”) focus on aspects of space travel. These insights are gained from astronauts’ experiences and the training they need to endure before going on a mission. The last chapter (“Homecoming”) describes the return to Earth and some of the effects it has on people who have been in space for long periods. The book is aimed at middle-school and high-school students but is also good for adults interested in the solar system – especially if they have not kept up with current developments. The narrative is easy to follow, and the vacation pretext makes it a fun read for any age group – highly recommended.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher Penguin Books
Publish Date 2017-Jun-06
ISBN 9780143129776 Buy this Book
Issue August 2017
Category Travel


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