Monday, April 24, 2023

Spring Reading 2023 The Astronaut's Guide to Leaving the Planet

NASA astronaut Terry Virts has created an enjoyable, readable, and informative book that answers all sorts of questions that might occur to an astronomy buff or hopeful future astronaut. There are chapters on early space travel, training, life on the space station and other topics related to a career in space. Throughout the book are pages labeled "Ask an Astronaut" that answer questions such as "How often do you fly in space?" and "What inspired you to be an astronaut?"  There are also "Astronaut Activity" pages which have readers practice saying hello in various languages (it is an international space station after all), take apart an old toy or appliance to see how it works, and other activities that strengthen skills useful for future astronauts. 

The book is illustrated with cartoon style images and photographs, including a selfie taken by the author during one of his spacewalks! There are also a few diagrams - the space shuttle, a space suit, and an EMU (extravehicular mobility unit). A glossary of astronaut terms and an index are also provided. The narrative style is conversational and easy to understand. Explanations are correct without being too technical. For example, the space shuttle's part in the construction of the ISS is described as "They brought up new modules to add on piece by piece, like a giant LEGO set in space."

Recommended for readers 10 and up - just be sure to set aside some time for those astronaut activities that are suggested! Just published April 11, so pick up a copy today.

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