Rambling, sketchy account of modern astrophysics and past and future space travel--by a veteran science popularizer (God and the Astronomers, 1978; The Enchanted Loom, 1981). Jastrow can hardly contain his enthusiasm for space exploration, promising that ""the most momentous developments in the history of life on this planet may be about to unfold."" He remembers his early work at NASA, when he lobbied hard for a manned moon landing, arguing convincingly that the space program means more than raw scientific research that can better be carried on by robots. Looking ahead, he enthuses about the Hubble Space Telescope and other orbital telescopes, ""the jewels in the crown of space science,"" and bubbles about flights to Mars (he favors artifical gravity to ward off muscular and bone atrophy) and to other stars (perhaps in ships propelled by antimatter, and containing astronauts grown in artificial wombs at journey's end). Mullings about extraterrestrial life lead to lots of cliches (""we might learn the secret of immortality, unlimited energy. . .""). To pad this very thin text to book size, Jastrow also tosses in basic lessons on quasars, black holes, the creation of stars, and so on. Here and there, Jastrow's eagerness wins the day, but you've read it all before. Really a light young-adult title in disguise.