The editor to this volume, Christopher Mari, describes the space race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, which reached its pinnacle with the lunar landings, as the first space age. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Challenger disaster ended that era; the second space age was characterized by unmanned probes, satellites development and low-earth orbits by astronauts. The new space age, says Mari, promises a return to ambitious manned missions, an expansion of unmanned probes, and a search for other planets like earth and for extraterrestrial life. The first section describes the details of “Project Constellation: NASA’s vision for Space Exploration,” created after the Columbia spacecraft accident. Articles from science reporters and scientists writing for publications such as Scientific American, Discover and the New York Times describe NASA’s plans to complete construction of the International Space Station and develop a new manned spacecraft system that can take astronauts to the moon and Mars. The second section examines the emergence of the Chinese space program, including its accomplishments, future projects and impact on the space program in the U.S. The third section explores “Commercializing the Cosmos: Private Industry in Outer Space,” with articles discussing the prospects of commercial space travel, the development of a robust private sector around space-related ventures (described geographically as the “Rocket Belt”) and ideas for stimulating private-sector growth through government incentives. The fourth section covers ongoing and future plans for the exploration of Mars, reviewing what has been learned and what future missions might uncover. The fifth section looks specifically at unmanned probes, including those currently in action, future plans and the challenges faced in the implementation of such endeavors. The final section discusses the exploration of space beyond our solar system and includes mind-boggling descriptions of the technologies and methodologies used to locate planets like the earth’s elsewhere in the universe. A general index and bibliographies of books, periodical articles and websites conclude the volume. Like other volumes in the Reference Shelf series, this collection is comprised of articles from major publications produced by leading writers and professionals in their fields of expertise. This is a concise collection that captures important details about the nature and direction of space exploration in the coming years. Highly recommended for high school, public and university libraries.