How Robotic Spacecraft Explore the Solar System
Michel van Pelt
Manned space missions attract the most media attention, and itís not hard to understand why: A "crewed" space
flight necessarily involves personal danger, daring, and courage. It is hard for us, as earthbound observers,
not to become imaginatively and emotionally involved in the sheer adventure of human beings launched into the heavens.
However, in the roughly fifty years of the Space Age, unmanned missions, compared to manned missions, have flown much
more often, much further, for much longer, and into regions of the Solar System from which no human could ever hope
to return. In this book, Michel van Pelt offers a "behind the scenes" look at the development of unmanned
missions, from their first conceptual design to the analysis of the scientific data returned by the spacecraft.
In technically detailed but easy-to-understand prose he tells us:
- Why space probes are by definition lighter, cheaper, and much less complex than their manned counterparts
- The compelling rationale for investing in remote-controlled and robotic space flights to the furthest reaches of the Solar System and beyond
- Why the widely discredited idea of "Faster, Better, Cheaper" space missions should be given another look, or at least two-thirds of another look
- How advances in robotics and miniaturization, as well as propulsion, power, communications, and attitude and thermal systems, will continue to increase the range and versatility of unmanned spacecraft.
In a blend of historical narrative and reader-friendly, informative analysis, Michel van Pelt describes not just the great unmanned spaceflights of our recent history, but the astonishing feats of exploration we can expect to witness in the decades to come.
Table of Contents
- A space robot is born
- Anatomy of a space probe
- Building and testing
- Instruments of science
- Distant destinations
- Death of a spacecraft
- A bright future
- Only just beginning
Casebound & Jacketed
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