NINE PLANETS by Alan E. Nourse


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This is an over-imaginative survey of the physical attributes and motions of the nine planets of the solar system, their satellites, and the Sun. It is a mixture of astronomical facts and science fiction in which the reader seems twice removed from the true facts because of the author's insistence upon imbedding them in uninhibited speculation on the nature and motives of future, long range, interplanetary exploration. Touching only on scattered events in astronomical history, the author gives the impression of telling more than is already known and less than is really known. There is little explanation, many missing facts, and seeming misstatements which are merely unrefined and undefined ideas. The danger of this kind of popularization, in spite of a kind of space-age stimulation it gives, is that many of the opinions presented could be mistaken for facts by the unwary. In attempting to familiarize the layman with the nature of the solar system, it is more important to illuminate it clearly, accurately and engagingly, rather than argumentatively, reasonably and informally, as the author admits to doing. If science is anything, it is rigorous, not informal.

Pub Date: June 8th, 1960
Publisher: Harper