Lives of the Planets: A Natural History of the Solar System

Lives of the Planets: A Natural History of the Solar System

by Richard Corfield

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Lives of the Planets describes a scientific field in the midst of a revolution. Planetary science has mainly been a descriptive science, but it is becoming increasingly experimental. The space probes that went up between the 1960s and 1990s were primarily generalists-they collected massive amounts of information so that scientists could learn what questions to pursue. But recent missions have become more focused: Scientists know better what information they want and how to collect it. Even now probes are on their way to Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Pluto, with Europa-one of Jupiter's moons-on the agenda. In a sweeping look into the manifold objects inhabiting the depths of space, Lives of the Planets delves into the mythology and the knowledge humanity has built over the ages. Placing our current understanding in historical context, Richard Corfield explores the seismic shifts in planetary astronomy and probes why we must change our perspective of our place in the universe. In our era of extraordinary discovery, this is the first comprehensive survey of this new understanding and the history of how we got here.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465008421
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 08/01/2007
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
File size: 5 MB
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Richard Corfield received his doctorate from Cambridge University. He is currently a Visiting Senior Lecturer and Researcher in the Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research at the Open University, which oversaw both the Beagle 2 Mars mission and the Huygens mission to Titan.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

1 Ages of Dark and Light: The Sun 1

2 The Piper at the Gates of Dawn: Mercury 27

3 The Greenhouse in the Sky: Venus 47

4 The Wizards of Earthsea: Earth and Moon 77

5 The Martian Chronicles: Mars 101

6 The Outward Urge: Asteroids 135

7 The Eye of the Universe: Jupiter 155

8 Ringing Infinity: Saturn 185

9 The Harmonies of the Ice Giants: Uranus and Neptune 211

10 Termination Shock: Pluto and the Kuiper Belt 227

Acknowledgments 251

Index 253

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