Examines the causes, dangers, and efforts to clean up various forms of space debris.
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Grade 2-5-- Asimov uniformly packages topics of varying scope, so that some seem pared down while others are padded. The Birth and Death of Stars is one of the pared-down volumes. It briefly describes the title topic, giving a clearer and more accurate explanation of the relationship between a star's mass and its life span than either Simon's Stars (Morrow, 1986) or Darling's longer The Stars: From Birth to Black Hole (Dillon, 1985). Is There Life on Other Planets? briefly explores the origin of life on earth, the known counts against there being life elsewhere in the solar system, and the statistical likelihood that life exists somewhere else in the universe. While facts are sparse, this volume is filled out with speculation on interstellar travel or colonization, debunked science fiction pictures, a list of eight forms of life that might well lurk in an "uninhabited" Earth house, and even a board game of a trip to a neighboring star system. While Franklyn Branley's Mysteries of Life on Earth and Beyond (Lodestar, 1987) covers the same ground with more information for more enterprising readers, this one wins hands down on browsing appeal. Jupiter: The Spotted Giant is much more substantial. It covers viewing Jupiter and its Galilean satellites with binoculars, the probes that have visited Jupiter and the information they sent back, a description of the Galilean satellites, and hopes for the Galileo probe. Simon's beautiful photo essay Jupiter (Morrow, 1985) covers most of the same ground without the numbers. Considering the paucity of information on and recent photos of Mercury, it is understandable that there are few individual books on that planet. Asimov fills in with information about the Roman god Mercury and astronomical history about the futile search for a planet even closer to the sun, and succeeds in presenting a worthwhile book. It has far more information about Mercury than Ardley's The Inner Planets (Schoolhouse Press, 1988) for the same age group. Science Fiction, Science Fact makes an attractive browsing volume, filled with science fiction art and movie stills, with occasional photos for counterpoint. The text takes up 12 topics of space travel in science fiction and briefly tells either what has been achieved or how the laws of physics limit what can be achieved. Space Garbage takes up a concern that is mentioned in some general titles on space exploration, but that does not usually get much attention. Asimov also briefly mentions natural debris, and explains how solar flares cause satellite orbits to decay. With the text given about one third of the space on 24 pages in each volume, there's no space for any in-depth coverage. Boxed snippets, sometimes not on the most appropriate page, further the sense of flying low over the topics. Still, libraries may want these for their clear explanations, easily accessible facts, or in some cases, browsing appeal. --Margaret Chatham, formerly at Smithtown Library, NY
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Yearling, 1991. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0440404444