Space Exploration―A History in 100 Objects
By Sten Odenwald
This is no ordinary space book.
Within the pages of this eclectic pop-history, scientist and educator Sten Odenwald at NASA examines 100 objects that forever altered what we know and how we think about the cosmos. From Sputnik to Skylab and Galileo’s telescope to the Curiosity rover, some objects are iconic and some obscure—but all are utterly important.
- The Nebra sky disk (1600 BCE) features the first realistic depiction of the Sun, Moon, and stars.
- The Lunar Laser Ranging RetroReflector finally showed us how far we are from the Moon in 1969.
- In 1986, it was the humble, rubber O-ring that doomed the space shuttle Challenger.
- The Event Horizon Telescope gave us our first glimpse of a black hole in 2019.
These 100 objects, as Odenwald puts it, showcase “the workhorse tools and game-changing technologies that have altered the course of space history . . . the tools and devices that, taken together, represent the major scientific discoveries—and celebrate the human ingenuity—of space technology, showing the ways physics and engineering have brought about our greatest leaps in understanding the way our universe works. . . . They make it clear that we have made giant strides in our quest to search ever more deeply into the farthest reaches of the universe—and behind each new discovery is an object that expands our appreciation of space as well as the boundless imagination and resourcefulness we carry within us.”