From Chinese rockets of the 11th century to the latest developments in modern space travel, the four-volume Space Exploration Reference Library provides a wealth of information on this still-emerging science.
Space Exploration Reference Library: Almanac covers the space race, the Moon landings, joint U.S. and Russian space ventures, space equipment, the history of space probes and more.
Space Exploration Reference Library: Biographies examines key figures like Sally Ride, Yuri A. Gagarin, Neil Armstrong, John H. Glenn, Jr., Ellen Ochoa, Hermann Oberth and many others.
Space Exploration Reference Library: Primary Sources includes a wide-range of full and excerpted sources concerning the political, economic and scientific aspects of space exploration.
For table of contents, sample pages or other volume specific information see the entry for the Almanac, Biographies or Primary Sources.
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"While present world focus seems to be on matters other than space exploration, science teachers and students will appreciate the new information found here. Each of the four volumes begins with a reader's guide, 14-page timeline of events and a five-page glossary.
Students can locate research and activities ideas in the almanac. A sample of the chapter titles includes "Stars and Early Stargazers," "Defining Order in the Universe," "Rocketry in Warfare," "Project Apollo," "Space Stations," "Space Shuttles" and "Space Probes." Events are set in world history and the competition with Russia for space exploration is discussed. Each chapter ends with a list of resources.
The 25 biographical essays are not all for single astronauts and scientists; some include teams such as the Apollo I and Challenger Crews. While the information can be found elsewhere, combining them with this set helps bring them together with a fresh view.
The primary sources volume has 15 chapters, each of which has a short introduction to the topic, an insert box with additional information, "Things to remember while reading the excerpt. . .", the excerpt itself, and black-and-white illustrations. Chapters end with "What happened next," "Did you know" and "Consider the following" sections, as well as a brief list of books, Web sites and other sources. Students will find excerpts from a novel, memoirs, news articles and speeches. Margin notes have terms defined that are not in the glossary.
Overall, the set's vocabulary can be read by middle school students with an interest in this topic. A separate 42-page paperback "Reference Library Cumulative Index" is also included. Recommended for middle and high school collections."
--Reviewed by Blanche Woolls, Oneota Reading Juornal, July 2005
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