A less breathtaking but more extensive exploration than Lauber's Journey to the Planets (p. 606, J-128), this integrates the latest NASA findings (and descriptions of the spacecraft themselves) with historical surveys of the way knowledge has accrued since ancient times. For each planet (and for the moons, rings, and so on) accounts of discoveries mix with descriptions, which lead naturally to questions (""What makes Venus' surface so hot? How can we account for all the carbon dioxide in Venus' air?"") and they in turn Dead to further description, theory, or speculation. Section headings (""A Smashed Planet?"" ""A Star That Failed?"" ""A Planet on Its Side"") draw readers on, and Gallant has a way of providing basic understanding and specific information with the ease of a storyteller, the care of a scientist.