Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

The Pristine View of Planetary Discoveries from a NASA Executive

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

The Pristine View of Planetary Discoveries from a NASA Executive

Article excerpt

The Pristine View of Planetary Discoveries from a NASA Executive Alan Boss. Universal Life: An Inside Look Behind the Race to Discover Life Beyond Earth. $24.95. 232pp, 6X9". Oxford: Oxford University Press, January 2019.

I came to this book after reading a few other books on exoplanets, so its contents were slightly less surprising, and not as engaging as they might have seemed if it was the first book I read on the subject. It does offer a lot more details on this narrow subject than the other books, so perhaps I would have understood it all better if I read it ahead of them. It is broken down neatly into sections on the relevant subjects, but the section headings a bit more dramatic rather than descriptive of what exactly is involved, for example: "Tau Ceti or Bust" and "Just Don't Look Down". If they were more specific, it would be easier for me to find the exact sections that I needed to research for my space novel. As it stands, readers have to begin reading each section to learn what to expect, and since many of the sections are a single paragraph long, they might as well just sit down and read this whole small book cover-to-cover. The back cover explains what this book is all about: "After decades of painstaking planning, NASA's first dedicated exoplanet detection mission, the Kepler space telescope, was launched in 2009 from Cape Canaveral. …

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