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Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  4,786 Ratings  ·  431 Reviews
"A compelling appeal, at just the right time, for continuing to look up."--Air & Space

America's space program is at a turning point. After decades of global primacy, NASA has ended the space-shuttle program, cutting off its access to space. No astronauts will be launched in an American craft, from American soil, until the 2020s, and NASA may soon find itself eclipsed b
Hardcover, 364 pages
Published February 27th 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 1st 2012)
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Jun 29, 2012 David rated it liked it
This book is a collection of fascinating essays. Each essay is a gem; Tyson has excellent points of view about a number of subjects related to space exploration. The main theme of the book, is that NASA's funding should be increased, in order to allow manned space flights beyond low-Earth orbit. Tyson has some very good reasons for this; perhaps the chief reason is that only manned space flights will generate enthusiasm among young people, sufficient to encourage them to become scientists and en ...more
Jul 13, 2012 Mike rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
“Space Chronicles”.

I like the topic. I like the author. I like his style, his insights, his humor (most of the time), and his enthusiasm for what lies beyond the wild blue yonder.

This would have been a great book at one-quarter length. Why do I say that? Because there is so much repetition of themes: to the point where whole sentences and even passages are identical in multiple places. Not that the specific places where these statements get re-used are inappropriate or just “filler”. No, they ar
Apr 09, 2012 Simon rated it really liked it
I'm starting to think and hope that Neil DeGrasse Tyson is our generation's version of Carl Sagan. In that he not only writes and speak about space with such energy and passion, but he shares Sagan's ability to explain the universe in humurous, elegant and easy to understand ways, that make his work accessible to the laymen, as well as the passionate science and space geeks out there.

I watched Tyson give an interview the other night and he had me shouting "yes!" at the television as he systemati
Mar 02, 2012 J.P. rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
One has to be careful in writing about science. Dumb it down and you risk losing your main audience who'll think it was written for grade schoolers but make it too advanced and people tend to get bored with all the technical jargon.
The author's approach is just right. What I liked best was he correctly points out that there are other reasons besides exploration for having a space program. There are scientific discoveries that can be applied for the benefit of all. It will interest kids so they m
Jan 21, 2017 Saman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Can't do it man. Just can't keep reading this thing. It's not interesting. It's too disjointed for me to enjoy, and too much stuff about NASA's policy and things like that. I wanted to read something like "packing for mars" I guess.
So, even though I love Neil and his mustache and everything, I will have to stop reading this book right here.
In short: a number of essays where deGrasse Tyson argues that America needs to spend more on NASA and its science and research. Many good arguments that people might not be thinking about. Some history on space travels and their impacts on science, culture, and more. He goes on arguing that America needs more space travels, but he's arguing that while space travels without humans (only robots) is cheaper, astronauts become symbols, almost celebrities and can cause the general population to take ...more
Feb 19, 2012 Book rated it it was amazing
Space Chronicles: Facing The Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson

“Space Chronicles" is the inspirational plea of why NASA matters to America and what space exploration means to our species. Renowned astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson dissects the politics of space and also enlightens the reader of the sense of awe that comes from space exploration and discovery. This book selections represent commentary, interviews, thought-provoking quotes reflecting a spectrum of fascinating topics from
Brian Clegg
Mar 28, 2012 Brian Clegg rated it it was ok
I really struggled with this book. I love space and space travel - I have lived through and been thrilled by the entire space race and the development of space science. I expected to love a book by a great astronomer and science populariser, but instead I pretty well had to give up, part way through.

There are two problems. The lesser one is the structure of the book. It consists of a collection of articles, interviews and such that Tyson has produced on the subject of space exploration. This ine
Feb 29, 2012 David rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebook, ibooks
A collection of essays written by Tyson over the years. Essays describe America's history in space and our current aimlessness in space exploration. The essays are consistent: we went to Moon to beat the Russians - essentially a Cold War endeavor; a nation that does not dream and think about tomorrow is doomed; other nations will pass us by; with NASA's share of the US budget less than 1/2 of 1% we can do great things if only we'd look up and dream. As someone who once dreamed of being an astron ...more
Edmund Young
Jul 24, 2016 Edmund Young rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never thought reading about science can be easy and fun. I like the style of Neil deGrasse Tyson. He is now officially my favorite author. I did not understand why the appendices at the end were added, but, apart from that, in my opinion this is a 5-star book.
Catalin Negru
Jul 11, 2016 Catalin Negru rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Target audience: Common people, anyone passionate about space, astronomy, the Universe and the future of space exploration.

About the author: According to Wikipedia, Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator. Since 1996, he has been the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City. The center is part of the American Museum of Natural History, where Tyson founded the Department of
Mar 01, 2012 Preeti rated it really liked it
Shelves: space
I can't remember anymore how or where I first came across Neil deGrasse Tyson. What I do remember is taking an instant liking to the man. I first started reading one of his earlier books, Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries, though I never got through the entire thing because I ended up giving it to my grandfather who took it back to India. With so many books on my reading list, I haven't had a chance to get another copy.

Around that time, I also saw Dr. Tyson speak at an event at Ha
Mar 22, 2014 Bry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2014
Dr. Tyson is a genius. He is BRILLAINT. He is good hearted. He is observant. And he is a master of explaining anything and everything in an easy to understand manner.

I mean seriously, he could be explaining how paint dries and I would be completely enthralled and fascinated by the process.

This book is a collection of his wittings, speeches, and interviews over the years and revolves around man's journey into the universe. He talks about why we should make the effort to escape low orbit and how
Jason Schneeberger
Neil deGrasse Tyson has become one of my favorite people walking planet earth. His passion, intellect, knowledge, charisma and way with words is truly infectious!

SPACE CHRONICLES is a collection of essays and magazine articles that Dr.Tyson has written over the years, where he lays out his arguments for the importance of space exploration. It's about more than visiting the moon, potentially visiting Mars etc.. Many of our greatest inventions and things we take for granted in our everyday life, c
Aug 22, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
oh...did i ever love this book!! so much. i am already a big fan of mr. neil degrasse tyson and this book just helped cement that love for me. dude is just awesome-sauce deluxe! i really like him because he just seems to OOZE passion for and in his work and he also seems to always be having a good time and able to poke a bit of fun at himself (hello big bang theory appearance. HA!).

when i finished this read a little bit ago, i began reading some reviews here on GR, to see what people thought. t
Mar 03, 2012 AnnMarie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Space Chronicles is not a tough read like A Brief History of Time, nor is it an amazing look at how science will improve our lives like Micho Kaku's Physics of the Future. It's a collection of brief passages, most reprinted material from Neil deGrasse Tyson's many newspaper columns, interviews, and even some of his more poignant tweets. This makes for an incredibly easy read, and one that I was almost finished with in only a few hours' time.

And the more I read, the more I came to realize who thi
Jan 08, 2015 Geoff rated it liked it
This book tackles why space exploration is necessary now more than ever and the hurdles/triumphs of the ultimate frontier. The way Neil Degrasse Tyson writes is very readable to me. He has the ability to make some complicated subjects much more simple - which makes sense since he frequently calls himself an educator above all else.

The 'problem' with this book is that he constantly repeats himself throughout the book. I get it Neil, the space race was a byproduct of the Cold War. But I think the
Feb 29, 2012 Ron rated it really liked it
I am a huge fan of NDT. I absolutely agree with basically everything I've heard him say on space and NASA. So I pretty much had to read this book just on general principle and in support of what he's doing.

That being said, I felt a little disappointed emotionally when reading this. I guess my expectations were too high. I would have devoured this as a teen, before starting at NASA. It is definitely geared toward the layman. Which is really as it should be. At the same time I didn't enjoy readin
Jun 17, 2015 Ross rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Big stretch to give this 2 stars. I bought the book as I thought it would be about astronomy and astrophysics. It is not.
The book is a collection of essays and interviews with huge amounts of material repeated over and over. The primary subjects are NASA and the author's interest in manned space flight.
I was especially annoyed at the author's extreme exaggerations about consumer and health products we enjoy today that he asserts came from NASA research.
His main interest is promoting manned space
Stian Haga
Apr 26, 2012 Stian Haga rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in space, science and the history of space exploration.
Neil deGrasse Tyson gives a good view of the past, current and future of space exploration. "Why, how and when" is thoroughly explained with an enthusiasm that is unparalleled. To be frank, I just really want to become an astronomer right now!
Sep 07, 2015 Rich rated it really liked it
My favorite part of the book was Tyson's keynote speech at the Goddard Memorial Dinner in 2005:

"One day I was reading the newspaper--a dangerous thing to do, always--and I saw a headline complaining, 'HALF OF SCHOOL IN DISTRICT SCORED BELOW AVERAGE.' Well, that's kind of what an average is! You get about half below and half above...

I've got another example. It's often said that the state lottery is a tax on the poor, because people with low incomes spend a disproportionate amount of their money
Jan 12, 2017 Nabila rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, space
This is actually a collection of essays and interviews (and an ode). The essays were adapted from previous ones that were published somewhere else in various places. That's probably why the book is a bit repetitive. While not necessarily a bad thing, it does get tiresome.

Many of the things he said were not new or surprising. For example, the US started their own space program because the Soviets did it first. Who would have thought. And, apart from the moon landing, the Soviets were ahead of the
Jan 17, 2017 Snem rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I get so excited about space it really thrills me. I want to see a human being land on Mars in my lifetime. I guess it takes a Cold War to excite people about the space program these days, but I don't fully believe that. People are still a little awed by space and that gives me hope. If that doesn't do it, perhaps the asteroid barreling down on us threatening to take out all the pacific islands and California will.

Now onto this book...I really like Tyson's style. He's humorous, he makes science
Mar 11, 2012 jeremy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, essays
the great neil degrasse tyson, astrophysicist, director of the hayden planetarium, pbs/nova host, and ambassador to all sorts of interstellar and cosmic awesomeness, is also the author of nearly a dozen books. his newest, space chronicles: facing the ultimate frontier, is a collection of three dozen articles, speeches, and interviews (and even a poem!) previously published or delivered in public. divided into three main parts ("why," "how," and "why not"), space chronicles delves into a wide var ...more
Artiom Karsiuk
May 08, 2014 Artiom Karsiuk rated it it was ok

I don't know about you, but I like my science to be dropped from the Bronx. It just has that certain je ne sais quoi about it.
My rating probably gave it away, but the book "was ok". I really like NDT and consider him to be a valuable asset to the U.S. educational system, because charismatic scientists are [sadly] a rare breed. There are few if any reality series like "Keeping up with the deGrasse Tysons" on TV, so you have to appreciate Neil taking it upon himself to actively promote science wit
Nitya Sivasubramanian
Mar 31, 2013 Nitya Sivasubramanian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5star
Is there anything sexier in the world than an intelligent man who talks passionately about his work in a way that makes your feel more intelligent just for listening? If there is, please don't tell me, so I can continue to wallow in the wonder that is Neil deGrasse Tyson and his latest book, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier.

To be honest, not much of what Mr. Tyson bases his arguments on is news to me. After all, I consider myself to be very much part of the choir he sees himself p
Ken Bronsil
Mar 20, 2012 Ken Bronsil rated it really liked it
I have heard Neil DeGrasse Tyson on various television shows and have been amazed at his energy, vitality, and imagination. It all comes through in this book, which is a collection of both his written work and his verbal presentations, interviews, and speeches. That means you read some ideas or expressions, or even stories, more than once. I didn't find that a problem because it's helpful to hear them again. There are a few chapters involving some advanced physics concepts; there are many other ...more
I started reading this right after having seen a live performance given by Neil DeGrasse Tyson on the ties between astrophysics and beloved movies and television shows. I laughed, I cried, and I loved it. And I really wanted to love Space Chronicles. However, I just didn't.

Don't get me wrong - I love Neil, and I love learning about space and astrophysics and NASA. And this book had All Of Those Things. It just read to me as a book in which Neil was trying to make a buck. The book didn't read as
Kevin Cecil
Jun 03, 2012 Kevin Cecil rated it liked it
Shelves: science, politics, history
A few years ago on Real Time with Bill Mahr, Ashton Kutcher asked why we waste money on NASA. His point was there there are so many problems down here on Earth that shooting money at the stars just seems wasteful. Someone needs to give Mr. Kutcher this book.
In SPACE CHRONICLES Neil deGrasse Tyson explains the applicable scientific achievements brought to us through space exploration (including a Hubble inspired breast cancer detector), while also detailing the numerous cosmic queries answered o
Seth Hanson
Jan 13, 2016 Seth Hanson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier is a thought provoking book by a leading astronomer making a case as to why space travel is so important to us, both as a nation, scientifically, economically, and diplomatically, and as individuals, inspiring us, pushing us, and giving us new opportunities. Along the way, the author gives us a front row seat to the history of NASA and America in space, and shares his own insights on the matter of space travel and space in general. The book is, in e ...more
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Neil deGrasse Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public schools clear through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. Tyson went on to earn his BA in Physics from Harvard and his PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia.

Tyson's professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our
More about Neil deGrasse Tyson...

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“In 2002, having spent more than three years in one residence for the first time in my life, I got called for jury duty. I show up on time, ready to serve. When we get to the voir dire, the lawyer says to me, “I see you’re an astrophysicist. What’s that?” I answer, “Astrophysics is the laws of physics, applied to the universe—the Big Bang, black holes, that sort of thing.” Then he asks, “What do you teach at Princeton?” and I say, “I teach a class on the evaluation of evidence and the relative unreliability of eyewitness testimony.” Five minutes later, I’m on the street.

A few years later, jury duty again. The judge states that the defendant is charged with possession of 1,700 milligrams of cocaine. It was found on his body, he was arrested, and he is now on trial. This time, after the Q&A is over, the judge asks us whether there are any questions we’d like to ask the court, and I say, “Yes, Your Honor. Why did you say he was in possession of 1,700 milligrams of cocaine? That equals 1.7 grams. The ‘thousand’ cancels with the ‘milli-’ and you get 1.7 grams, which is less than the weight of a dime.” Again I’m out on the street.”
“Down there between our legs, it's like an entertainment complex in the middle of a sewage system. Who designed that?” 73 likes
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