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Andrew Chaikin's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Andrew Chaikin recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Andrew Chaikin's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Mars and the mind of man

On November 12, 1971, the day before NASA’s Mariner 9 mission reached Mars and became the first spacecraft to orbit another planet, Caltech Planetary Science professor Bruce Murray summoned a panel of thinkers to discuss the implications of the historic event. The panel included Carl Sagan and science fiction icons Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke in a conversation moderated by New York Times science editor Walter Sullivan. What unfolded was a quilt of perspectives on the relationship between mankind and the cosmos, the importance of space exploration, and the future of our civilization. Two... more
Recommended by Andrew Chaikin, and 1 others.

Andrew ChaikinIt captures a unique moment in the history of human discovery when the Mariner 9 became the first spacecraft to orbit Mars. (Source)

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The Red Limit

For centuries, it was assumed that our universe was static. In the late 1920s, astronomers defeated this assumption with a startling new discovery. From Earth, the light of distant galaxies appeared to be red, meaning that those galaxies were receding from us. This led to the revolutionary realization that the universe is expanding. The Red Limit is the tale of this discovery, its ramifications, and the passionately competitive astronomers who charted the past, present, and future of the cosmos. less
Recommended by Andrew Chaikin, and 1 others.

Andrew ChaikinA beautifully told story of the first mind-boggling leaps in discovery that 20th century astronomers gave us, (Source)

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Michael Benson has spent years compiling images collected by the unmanned probes that NASA has been sending into space to explore the solar system. These images provide a visual tour of the solar system and are accompanied by essays that explain the history of the journeys of the probes. less
Recommended by Andrew Chaikin, and 1 others.

Andrew ChaikinThe sight of a giant canyon on Mars, or the icy surface of one of Saturn’s moons, or the pockmarked face of Mercury, give us the ability to transport ourselves to these alien landscapes. (Source)

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The Race To The Moon

Out of print for fifteen years, this is the classic account of how the United States got to the moon. It is a book for those who were part of Apollo and want to recapture the experience and for those of a new generation who want to know how it was done. It is an opinion shared by many Apollo veterans. Republished in 2004 with a new Foreword by the authors. less
Recommended by Andrew Chaikin, and 1 others.

Andrew ChaikinThe story of Apollo would not have been complete without this book. (Source)

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NASA astronaut Michael Collins trained as an experimental test pilot before venturing into space as a vital member of the Gemini 10 and Apollo 11 missions. In Carrying the Fire, his account of his voyages into space and the years of training that led up to them, Collins reveals the human tensions, the physical realities, and the personal emotions surrounding the early years of the space race. Collins provides readers with an insider's view of the space program and conveys the excitement and wonder of his journey to the moon. As skilled at writing as he is at piloting a spacecraft, Collins... more

Andrew ChaikinReaders really get their money’s worth with Mike because his book is readable, personal, poignant and funny. It sets the bar for astronaut books. (Source)

Alastair HumphreysI really enjoyed all the training, build-up side of things as well—and the human side of the book. It’s such a rocket science-type endeavour, but Michael Collins seems like a really nice guy. He manages to tell the story of this incredible effort by elite people in a way that’s quite relatable and interesting. (Source)

Amar GovindarajanSir, that book you holding in your hand? Best one, I'm told, by an astronaut. You may even know the guy who wrote it. (Source)

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