The Final Frontier: Great Books and Dvds on Outer Space

Posted on January 16, 2019

by Amy H

With NASA firmly setting sights on trips to Mars, what better time to look up and learn more about the universe around us? Fortunately, we have some fantastic books and DVDs that are perfect for everyday people. And there are a couple of physicist rock stars (one of them literally so!) in American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and British particle physicist (and former rock keyboardist) Brian Cox. Beyond their fascinating work, there are so many more wonderful narratives, pictorials and DVDs besides their mighty oeuvres. Take a look…

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Current head of the world-renowned Hayden Planetarium in New York City and a research associate of the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History, Neil deGrasse Tyson is perhaps the funniest and most outspoken astrophysicist the world can currently handle.

Known for his animated lectures and hosting the remake of Carl Sagan’s infamous “Cosmos” television series, anything Tyson produces guarantees an entertaining and enlightening learning opportunity. Below, you’ll find some of his best works.

Best Books by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Brian Cox

University of Manchester professor of particle physics (and former keyboard player for the bands D:Ream and Dare) Brian Cox is a fantastic British counterpart to deGrasse Tyson, generally thought of as the successor to David Attenborough for much of the BBC’s scientific programming.

He has done extensive research at the super cool Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland. He has hosted the fascinating Wonders of… series for the BBC and has produced several accompanying books.

Books and DVDs featuring Brian Cox

And furthermore….

Infinite wonder : an astronaut’s photographs from a year in space by Scott Kelly

One’s perspective shifts when one lives for an entire year–as Commander Scott Kelly has–in the isolating, grueling, and utterly unforgiving vacuum of space. Kelly’s photos prove that this perspective–from 250 miles above earth–while hard-won, is also almost unspeakably beautiful.

Out There: A Scientific Guide to Alien Life, Antimatter, and Human Space Travel for the Cosmically Curious by Michael Wall

It’s impossible to look up at the stars and NOT think about it: Are we alone in the universe? senior writer Dr. Michael Wall treats that question as merely the beginning, touching off a wild ride of exploration into the final frontier. He considers the myriad of questions that would arise once we do discover life beyond Earth. What would the first aliens we meet look like? Would they be little green men or mere microbes? Would they be found on a planet in our own solar system or orbiting a star far, far away? Would they intend to harm us, and if so, how might they do it? And might they already have visited?

Beyond: our Future in Space by Chris Impey Human exploration has been an unceasing engine of technological progress, from the first homo sapiens to leave our African cradle to a future in which mankind promises to settle another world. Beyond tells the epic story of humanity leaving home—and how humans will soon thrive in the vast universe beyond the earth. Combining expert knowledge of astronomy and avant-garde technology, Chris Impey guides us through the heady possibilities for the next century of exploration.
Telescope in the Ice: Inventing a New Astronomy at the South Pole by Mark Bowen

Located near the geographic South Pole, IceCube is unlike most telescopes in that it is not designed to detect light. It employs a cubic kilometer of diamond-clear ice, more than a mile beneath the surface, to detect an elementary particle known as the neutrino. In 2010, it detected the first extraterrestrial high-energy neutrinos from outer space and thus gave birth to a new field of astronomy. And since the neutrino is one of the strangest and least understood of the known elementary particles, this is fertile ground. Bowen delivers a tale that’s part educational, part inspirational, and all adventure.

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