Wherein we look at the best of the Lunar Library from 2006.
2006 was a fantastic year for the Lunar Library. There were a lot of really good additions, and thanks to Rob and Mark here at Out of The Cradle I was able to transform it into a really useful resource for other people looking to learn more about the Moon. Since it is the holiday season, here is a guide to the best 2006 publications for the Moonatic in your life. Show your support for the Moon and our space efforts by buying Moon-related products! Donate a space toy to your local toy drive!
This one is a tough choice. There were two really good resources published this year – the Lunar e-Library put out by NASA, and the Lunar Base Handbook, 2nd edition by Peter Eckart. The Lunar e-Library collects some 1100 NASA studies on the Moon, making it invaluable as a research tool. However, you have to be approved to receive it, meaning that it is not available to the general public. (Thanks Paul Spudis and Wendell Mendell for being my character references). The Lunar Base handbook, first published in 1999, is a comprehensive guide to setting up shop on the Moon. The 2nd edition features some updates from Hermann Koelle, who has done extensive modeling of Moon bases, as well as material relevant to the Vision for Space Exploration. The Lunar Base Handbook is one of a handful of top references in the Lunar Library, and therefore is this year’s choice for best Moonbase reference.
This was a slow year for Moon maps, but there was an English translation of the beautiful “Le Grand Atlas de la Lune“ as “New Atlas of the Moon“. Large format pictures of the waxing and waning Moon, with clear overlays, help to familiarize you with what features appear when during the month. I do not have the English language version in the Lunar Library, but the copy I picked up at Gibert Joseph in Paris is absolutely beautiful. If I did have an English language copy, it would be the pick for this category.
The top pick has to be “New Views of the Moon“, published by the Mineralogical Society of America. This hefty tome is a great successor to the “Lunar Sourcebook” (now available digitally). It also has a fantastic section on “Development of the Moon” that puts what we’ve learned into the context of how it can be useful. This is a solid reference, and therefore the 2006 choice for this category.
I found a number of works this year for the Cultura Lunaris section, including several Christian titles, but nothing that was published in 2006. Oh well.
I picked up a number of Apollo-related titles this year, as there seems to be an infinite supply of books on Apollo, but most all from previous years (except for “Dark Side of the Moon“, which I haven’t read yet, and the Apogee titles, which I also haven’t read, though I just got Surveyor and it looks really interesting).
There’ve been about half a dozen titles this year, and I think â€œLCSI: Luna City Special Investigations – Dead Man on the Moonâ€ is probably the best of the lot. Though derivative of the whole CSI genre in the media, it puts it in a sufficiently new setting, our Moon, to make it intriguing. The author makes a strong effort to transpose CSI-type techniques to the Lunar environment, and it was a quite enjoyable read. How does a street-clothed man with one shoe end up in the Lunar regolith farther away from the base than he could have walked? Hat tip to Mark Whittington at the Curmudgeon’s Corner for pointing out this little gem.
“Earthlight“ brings the Moon to graphic novels in a modern and engaging way. Geared towards teenagers 13+, the story is chock full of danger, death, peer pressure, secret complots, terrorism and lots of other things that will resonate with modern teenagers. A bit edgy, and includes one rather inappropriate panel, it’s well drawn and well scripted.
I have to say that it was really cool seeing Rusty Schweickart in a VR helmet walking around on the Moon at this year’s International Space Development Conference in L.A. Lunar Explorer is a unique way to visit the Moon, and to explore some of the sites we’ve visited. The creator has gone to great lengths to catalogue every tool, photo, flag, and anything else we’ve dumped on the Moon so that each visit will be as accurate as possible. This is a really neat tool.
Big Rocks from Space
Without question the August issue of “Astronomy Magazine”, Special Meteorite Issue: Rocks from space!, is the top pick here. This issue extensively covers the different kinds of meteorites and where they’ve been found. A great reference for those who want a thorough introduction to this topic.
This category is another toss-up, with the challengers being “The Survival Imperative: Using Space to Protect Earth“ by William Burroughs and â€œBeyond Earth: The Future of Humans in Spaceâ€ edited by Bob Krone. Both are very important works, though directed at slightly different audiences. “The Survival Imperative” seems geared towards influencing policymakers while being accessible to the general public, while “Beyond Earth” is definitely a more intellectual work, also geared to policymakers, and also academics, industrial leaders, futurists and big thinkers. But that shouldn’t deter you from exploring the far ranging musings found therein. I think the more accessible and focused “Survival Imperative” will have to come out on top.
Youth Moon Fiction
Absolutely brilliant, “Moonwake“ is a thoroughly modern juvenile, which I highly recommend for all ages. With Dr. Paul Spudis, one of the top names in Lunar studies, as co-author you know that the details will be as accurate as possible. There is a lot of really good, current information packed into this book, which is why I recommend it for all ages. The story is compelling and keeps the pages turning as the protagonist gets himself into one scrape after another. It’s also quite wholesome and just plain a good story for the youngsters.
Youth High Frontier Fact
“Kids to Space“ is one of the best space-related youth reference books to have been published in recent times. When Anousheh Ansari spoke recently at the Frontiers of Flight Museum here in Dallas, this was the book she was handing out to the scores of youngsters that came to see her. My one disappointment is that try as I might I cannot find it at the local B&N or Borders bookstores. (“Can we order that for you? Uh, no, I could just go on Amazon.com and have it delivered to my house, and get it cheaper to boot, but I -want- to spend my money and employ people locally. I guess that makes me a bad consumer. Guys, please stock this book.) Quite a few nieces, nephews and god-daughters are going to be getting this one from me for Christmas.
[Full Disclosure: I helped in the writing of this book. I received no remuneration for doing so, nor from sales. It’s more important to me that kids learn about, and are excited by, space than any personal benefit I might receive.]
Youth High Frontier Fiction
I’ve generally tried to steer away from Mars-related titles in the Lunar Library, as I’d really like to see the Mars-o-philes put together something similar for Mars, a kind of Arean Archives. However, when Ms. Engdahl dropped me a line to ask if I’d add the re-release of her book “Journey Between Worlds“ to the Library (and sent me an autographed copy ;-)), I couldn’t decline. I’m all in favor of encouraging young ladies to pursue space interests (because that will help to encourage the young gentlemen), and have previously reviewed “Countdown for Cindy” (excellent!) and “This Place Has No Atmosphere” (good). This one is turning out to be a very well-done story, and there should be a review up early in December.
I found the Earth/Moon/Mars to Scale marble set at the ISDC this year in L.A. Made from recycled glass, these little gems offer a quite detailed Earth blue marble, showing arid and vegetated areas, mountains and snow caps. The Moon unfortunately isn’t quite so accurately rendered, but it is really small when compared with the Earth. I can’t really speak to the fidelity of the Mars marble. There’s also a small booklet with some basic facts and also the scale distances. (66 cm for the Moon, 96 – 691 m for Mars)
Best of the Moon 2006 – Teacher Resource
Moon Maverick 2006
2006’s Moon Maverick has got to be Jon Goff. One of the engineers at Masten Space Systems, Jon has a weblog at the Selenian Boondocks that routinely takes close looks at the many reports and studies that have come out over the year, as well as speculates on possibilities. Not the usual blog blurb, but actual analyses that convey a lot of really good information and insights. Unfortunately, those analyses don’t always sit well with the powers that be, usually because they don’t like their assumptions being questioned/challenged. Many have commented that the archives there are well worth a full read. Jon has done more work at the Selenian Boondocks to uncover the weaknesses of ESAS than anyone else I know (though he’s certainly not alone), and so gets the Lunar Librarian’s vote for Moon Maverick of 2006.
[Full Diclosure: The Lunar Librarian is a/the guest blogger at the Selenian Boondocks, and a number of the entries in the Lunar Library are domiciled there, such as the “25 Good Reasons to Go to the Moon“ and “A Sort of L-1 Primer“.]
So there you have it. A lot of really good material came out this year, and the Moon is looking ever closer in our view. The generation that is actually going to set up shop there, and in cislunar space, is in school right now, and these are the kinds of things that can help prepare them for that new frontier.
How will we celebrate the holidays on the Moon? Will we have aluminum tannenbaums? Will children shake vacuum regolith globes in the 1/6th gravity? Diaphanous anhydrous glass sculptures impossible on Earth? Lunar ballets? Songs of Earthlight on the regolith?
Let’s go find out…