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101 Facts You Didn’t Know About Space by Mark Thompson (book review).

March 22, 2020 | By | Reply More

I could say from the start, ‘Only 101 facts about space?’ I suspect, author Mark Thompson and his publishers thought it might need a limit hence, ‘101 Facts You Didn’t Know About Space’. I can hardly detail all of them or you wouldn’t buy the book but I’ll pick out the odd fact that I might question or something I didn’t know or think of before. The majority of the facts have a full size photo next to it to match it. The Facts are either about our Solar System, other star systems and phenomenon and manned space flight.

In Fact 4, I’m not sure if I would call tide washing away footprints in the sand as erosion as its all to do with the tides and how damp the marks were. With Fact 7, it isn’t that difficult to point out Science Films and TV series that display its quiet in space. There are a lot of them that acknowledge this.

Something I was less aware of was how metal sticks together non-magnetically in space in Fact 13. The same with Fact 21 and the cold and heat differentials for a spacesuit on Mars. Hopefully, someone will make use of this to generate energy for the spacesuit. With Fact 44, I never realised Saturn had its own version of the aurora borealis and being so big it would dwarf our planet.

There are also reminders. Such as with Fact 33 and Alexi Leonov and the first space walk and his spacesuit becoming so stiff that he couldn’t enter Voskhod 2’s airlock without taking some drastic action. Although not stated, it undoubtedly caused for a change in spacesuit design.

This is really the first time with Fact 66 I’ve gotten to seeing Saturn’s closest moon, Mimas, and its crater that makes it look ‘Star Wars’ Deathstar although I doubt if George Lucas knew that at the time. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised if nature got there first although I’ll wait with baited breath for a certain giant monolith.

Although we know our sun is actually white from Fact 69 and it is our atmosphere which gives it the yellow tint, you do have to wonder at the various colours seen from the different planets in our Solar system. We know the Mars atmosphere gives the sun an orange tint but what about the rest. This is one answer that should have been expanded upon.

An odd thing about Fact 88 that I hope to be there to see is in 12,000 years Polaris will no longer be aligned with the North Pole but Vega instead. I doubt if the positional change will be all at once, so would imagine we would be seeing some changes over a thousand or more years.

I also like fact 97 and the minimal thrust a spaceship needs to move along but, then, it is obeying Newton’s Laws Of Motion and keeps going in the same direction.

Please note, I am being careful not to give away too much about these Facts and only focusing on the ones that made me think or question. There is a lot here that makes for an interesting read for those who want to more about our planets and life in space. Occasionally, even a terrestrial fact is linked with it. You might need to re-think how intelligence dung-beetles are.

GF Willmetts

March 2020

(pub: White Owl/Pen And Sword. 183 page illustrated hardback. Price: £25.00 (UK), $42.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-52674-457-9)

check out website: www.pen-and-sword.co.uk

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Category: Books, Science

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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