"The Smithsonian History Of Space Exploration: From the Ancient World to the Extraterrestrial Future" - Roger D. Launius

The Universe is both poetic and mathematical, subjective and objective, beautiful and terrifying. We are very much a part of the universe, the culmination of a molecule’s journey to become aware of itself, and perhaps even evidence that the Universe is sentient. Still, there is so much we don’t know about it. We barely understand anything about our own corner of space, yet we are constantly striving to learn more about everything around us, both near and far. The more scientists learn, the more that they don’t know, and this is even truer for us lay people who look to the stars, wondering what exists beyond our solar system. Fortunately, astronomers have documented their findings, and together with writers and artists, they have made it a bit more comprehensible. The Roswell Public Library has plenty to offer for those who wish to learn just a little bit more about outer space.

Roger D. Launius’s “The Smithsonian History of Space Exploration: From the Ancient World to the Extraterrestrial Future,” is an ode to humanity’s fascination with space. It starts by examining the ancient’s view of space and how it shaped their civilizations. From devising charts to calculate the passage of time throughout the year to developing the zodiac and applying spiritual meaning to the movement of planets and their alignment with stars, it is clear that space was every bit as revered in antiquity as it is nowadays. The book continues into more modern times, documenting the great space race between Russia and the United States, and detailing the hard work that astronomers and astronauts put into learning about our vast existence. Pictures and drawings enhance the book, bringing to life the history of our race’s enchantment with outer space. It’s a wonderful read for everybody who wants to know more about humanity’s relationship with the stars. It can be found in Adult Nonfiction, call number 629.4 L371s2.

-Robert, Roswell Public Library, New Mexico