Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization
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Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization is a nonfiction book by Robert Zubrin, published in 1999.
The book details Zubrin's ambitious plans for space exploration, with an eye towards colonization. It starts with an overview of the current status of space exploration. It then goes into detail about exploration of the Moon, Mars, the outer solar system, and beyond. The book uses engineering and mathematical concepts that are explained in layman's terms.
The first chapters of the book are dedicated to current and near-future space projects. Zubrin explains that exploration is part of human nature, and today's space projects are the modern equivalents of the ancient voyages of exploration. Zubrin then talks about his own experience in the aerospace industry. He mentions several modern projects, most notably the development of a Single-stage to orbit vehicle. More projects for the near-future are mentioned, including further space station development.
The chapter on the Moon is mostly spent discussing nuclear fusion. Zubrin explains that Helium-3 deposited on the moon by the solar wind could be an excellent fuel for nuclear fusion. Much of this chapter is spent discussing chemistry that would be vital to a moon base.
This chapter discusses Mars, a subject that is very important to Zubrin. Most of this chapter is a summary of what was covered in his book The Case for Mars. Zubrin believes that Mars is the next great frontier, and that it can be reached for a (relatively) low price using his Mars Direct plan.
Asteroids and the outer solar system
The section of this book discussing asteroids tells the story of past impacts on Earth, and how to prevent future disasters. Zubrin mentions a mission he designed that could be used to deflect an asteroid.
Then he goes on to discuss the nuclear fusion fuel based economy for the outer solar system, as well as possibilities of settling Saturn and Jupiter's moons, especially Titan. He also considers the Kuiper Belt Objects and the Oort Cloud (the trans-Neptunian objects)
The final chapters of the book are dedicated to advanced forms of propulsion and the future of humanity in space. Antimatter propulsion and solar sails are mentioned as means of interstellar travel. These chapters also cover the terraforming of alien planets and detection of alien life elsewhere in the galaxy.