Space: What Now?

The Past, Present, and Possible Futures of Activities in Space

  • By Tom Hill
  • Publisher: Publish America ISBN: 1-4137-2808-1
  • Reviewed by Robert Zubrin

Space: What Now?Tom Hill, a founding and active member of The Mars Society, has turned his talents to writing. The result is Space: What Now? The Past Present, and Possible Futures of Activities in Space. The sweeping title promises a lot, but the book delivers, with style and a sense of humor. Early chapters take readers through space history, and only the most ardent follower won't find some new morsel of information about the roots we will build our space future upon. After a gut-wrenching summary of the Columbia tragedy and the Aldridge Report, he takes readers into potential futures and methods of reaching them.

A strong supporter of missions to Mars, Tom takes the time to spell out reasons that other destinations, like high Earth orbit, the moon, and the near-Earth asteroids, have their own role to play in mankind's future. He also provides a thoughtful review of options for funding such missions, including governmental, corporate, and hybrid methods. Another fun chapter deals with space and the way it fits (or doesn't fit) into popular culture.

Timeliness is an issue for any book about space policy, and because of space developments in the last two years, some recent entries in the book have been overcome by events. To answer this problem, Tom created a supporting website, where readers can catch up on some of the latest stories he's been following, and find more information about the author, his background, and current activities.

Not everyone will agree with all of Tom Hill's conclusions, but his analyses are insightful, well balanced, and worthy of widespread consideration.

I strongly recommend this book. Tom Hill has taken his belief in a vibrant space future, tempered it with his experience in activism and the space industry, and produced essentially two works: an excellent primer for those new to the field and an entertaining and informative read for those more involved.