Space Exploration

Space Exploration

A History in 100 Objects

Sten Odenwald


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A NASA science educator showcases important objects in space history from Galileo’s telescope to the Curiosity rover: “Will fascinate readers of any age.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

This book examines 100 objects that forever altered what we know and how we think about the cosmos. From an ancient Mayan codex to Sputnik to Skylab and into the twenty-first century, some objects are iconic and some obscure—but all are utterly important.

  • The Nebra sky disk (1600 BCE) features the first realistic depiction of the sun, moon, and stars.
  • The Lunar Laser Ranging RetroReflector finally showed us how far we are from the moon in 1969.
  • In 1986, it was the humble, rubber O-ring that doomed the space shuttle Challenger.
  • The Event Horizon Telescope gave us our first glimpse of a black hole in 2019.
These 100 objects showcase the workhorse tools and game-changing technologies that have altered the course of space history—and the small steps and giant leaps we’ve made in our quest to explore the farthest reaches of the universe.

“Addictive . . . This diverse assortment of STEM milestones provides science, technology, and space enthusiasts plenty to ponder—and even debate.” —Booklist


Sten Odenwald:
Dr. Sten Odenwald is an award-winning astrophysicist and prolific science popularizer who has been involved with science education for the COBE, IMAGE, Hinode, and InSight missions, as well as NASA’s Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum. He is currently the director of citizen science for the NASA Space Science Education Consortium at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.