An overview of our solar system, from the sun to the Kuiper Belt, and how we are exploring it.
As solar-system tours go, it’s a quick flyby, but it’s also lively and unusually rich in uncommon observations and insights. Following views of the Big Bang and the history of astronomy, Stuart stops at the sun, then Mercury, Venus (where human visitors would be “baked, crushed, and dissolved”), and each other planet in succession. On the way, he cogently argues that Mars is the “most explored” planet, as we have better maps of its surface than our own ocean bottoms. The journey is rounded out with a mixed bag of topical spreads ranging from a gallery of dwarf planets to a timeline of our outer-space ventures up to Elon Musk’s 2018 SpaceX rocket launch and a diagrammatic look at a modern Soyuz launch and return. In the illustrations, satellites and spacecraft, enlarged images of select moons, exploded views, fact boxes, and digestible narrative blocks orbit Brandon-King’s larger, reasonably realistic planetary portraits. Occasional scenes feature light- and dark-skinned human figures of all genders peering into telescopes or floating in vacuum.
A memorable flight for prospective space travelers. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 9-11)