With a new era of commercial space flight in the offing, here’s a timely guide for young prospective travelers headed to choice astro-destinations.
Whether the itinerary features a suborbital flight, extended stays aboard the International Space Station, or longer excursions to the moon, Mars, a comet, Jupiter, or Saturn, McMahon supplies not only advice about preparing for each journey and coping with issues from boredom to bone loss, but also suggestions for appropriate activities. These include swimming in a zero-gravity pool, spotting certain terrestrial landmarks from orbit, or windsurfing on Saturn’s moon Titan. The author fills in background facts about major sights on the planets and other destinations, and he describes several spacecraft currently operational or under development. Additional reflections from such experienced astronauts as Chris Hadfield and Sunita Williams, plus plenty of color photos complementing Holinaty’s illustrations, bring space tourism that much closer to seeming like a real thing. Frank cautionary references to “consciousness-losing, barf-inducing g-forces” and other hazards only serve to buff up the promise that the experience of space travel will be a vivid one. Humans in the photos are diverse, as are Holinaty’s cartoon figures of space-suited young travelers.
Tickets (not to mention affordable ones) may still be a few years off…but it’s never too soon to start planning. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)