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Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization

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"Robert Zubrin is a true engineering genius like the heroic engineers of the past."
--Frederick Turner, American EnterpriseUsing nuts-and-bolts engineering and a unique grasp of human history, Robert Zubrin takes us to the not-very-distant future, when our global society will branch out into the universe. From the current-day prospect of lunar bases and Mars settlements to the outer reaches of other galaxies, Zubrin delivers the most important and forward-looking work on space and the true possibilities of human exploration since Carl Sagan's Cosmos.

Sagan himself said of Zubrin's humans-to-Mars plan, "Bob Zubrin really, nearly alone, changed our thinking on this issue." With Entering Space, he takes us further, into the prospect of human expansion to the outer planets of our own solar system--and beyond.

305 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1999

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About the author

Robert Zubrin

31 books126 followers
Robert Zubrin is an American aerospace engineer and author, best known for his advocacy of human exploration of Mars. He and his colleague at Martin Marietta, David Baker, were the driving force behind Mars Direct, a proposal in a 1990 research paper intended to produce significant reductions in the cost and complexity of such a mission.

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5 stars
201 (41%)
4 stars
183 (37%)
3 stars
83 (17%)
2 stars
12 (2%)
1 star
4 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews
Profile Image for Ed [Redacted].
233 reviews24 followers
February 20, 2012
I saw an interview where Alan Moore called Zubrin basically some kind of nut, probably because Newt Gingritch said something nice about him. I thought to myself, " self, if Alan Moore thinks this guy is nuts, you have got to get this book." after reading the book, I have to say Zubrin is not at all crazy, he was disappointingly sane in fact. He is certainly a glass half full guy, a bit pollyanna-ish, but sane just the same. His theories are very well thought out but thourougly optimistic. I just wish we had the stones to give some of it a try. I truly don't believe we will anytime soon and that is to our detriment. This was a pretty good read. Recommended for those who have an interest in near future space exploration.
Profile Image for Chris.
379 reviews26 followers
April 27, 2009
This is the future of human civilization; and it is astounding.

Zubrin blew my mind a number of times, and in later chapters it appears that Zubrin is blowing his own mind, based on the prevalence of conclusions he makes accentuated with exclamation marks in ellipses (!!!). All of which are warranted, as Zubrin is clearly the most visionary, optimistic, and forward thinking aeronautical engineer around. Having read his previous book 'The Case For Mars', I was expecting optimism and brilliance, and this more than delivered. (Also, I plan on going to this year's Space Development Conference in Florida, where Zubrin will speak).

The book begins with the current state of space exploration: capabilities, missions, goals, technologies, etc., It then begins to discuss the near future, including missions to mars, returning to the moon, and then progressing along a logical path into the future of space exploration. I recommend this book to all who are interested in knowing what their children, grandchildren and more distant offspring will be doing in the centuries to come.
November 27, 2021
Carefully researched, masterfully written, passionate and clearly on our (human) side. The only reason it's 4 stars rather than 5 is the omission of the topic of (IMHO) overarching importance: mechanics of human decision-making. Selling the idea of spacefaring civilization to the humans who will end up either paying for creating it (and sharing in the benefits of doing so if it works), - or refusing to.
2 reviews
September 8, 2007
Extremely informative and very inspirational.

After I read it I was like if I had a choice to make the world better, it would be along the lines of what was proposed in the book. Forward the human civilization into space.
Profile Image for Pete.
739 reviews52 followers
August 15, 2018
Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization (2000) by Robert Zubrin is a remarkable book the gives a remarkable view of how humanity can actually go into space. Both in the solar system and outside it.

Robert Zubrin has a masters in Aeronautics and a PhD in nuclear engineering and has worked as an aeronautical engineer so he has the ideal training to speculate seriously about what is possible in space flight in the next few decades and beyond. He has proposed numerous plausible propulsion systems for exploring space.

The book is broken up into the Kardashev system for classifying civilizations, as Type 1 or world spanning, type 2 or solar system spanning and type 3 or galactic civilization.

The world spanning looks at what more can be done in orbit. The solar system spanning as looking at how and why mars and other worlds can be colonized and the type 3 part looking at how with really plausibly technology the galaxy could be explored.

The solar system sections covers similar ground to Zubrin's book on why and how Mars should be colonized and extends it to how the asteroids and other worlds could be used. He also addresses the ideas of Gerard K O'Neil in The High Frontier and also Mining the Sky by John Lewis. The details and ideas presented are remarkable.

The section on how the galaxy could be colonised is also fascinating. Zubrin looks at various propulsion systems including Project Orion style nuclear explosive drives and various fusion propulsion systems that have been seriously proposed. It is very optimistic, but it is remarkably all physically plausible.

Entering Space is the best single book I've read on how serious space exploration and colonisation could be attempted. It's a really inspiring book for anyone interested in humanities possible ventures in space.
164 reviews
October 2, 2022
This book was written twenty years ago, so it’s a little bit out of date. But only in the sense that all the change since it was written makes it more compelling.

The boom begins by motivating humanity’s need, individually and collectively, to expand and settle other planets. Then it describes how we could do this. Necessarily high level, the analysis is nonetheless insightful and grounded. Finally it spans to the far future and considers how we might actually travel to other stars and what this means for life, the universe and the Fermi paradox.

There aren’t many books they change the way I think and what I care about but this one does.
Profile Image for Phoebe Spahn.
272 reviews2 followers
April 12, 2021
I really didn’t like this book. Zubrin came off as a mansplainer at a party who corners you and starts telling you about his genius business idea. Except you’re not at a party, you spent money on his book. And instead of an business plan, it’s his plan for space travel. Also I found some parts to be irrelevant just since it’s an older book in a field that’s quickly growing.
3 reviews
September 24, 2015
Good book on what a spacefaring civilisation might look like, and a potential realistic pathway to achieving it.

Resource gathering throughout the solar system could have been more in depth, about the size of economies required to sustain them.

Discussion of potential aliens in the galaxy was informative but a little narrow minded / opinionated:
- drake equation discussion concluded there must be many aliens in our galaxy, discounted the possibility of it being rare (<1 civilisation per galaxy)
- made the assumption that civilisations not growing must stagnate (that's a human observation, not necessarily a universal truth).
- assumption that all civilisations even ones in growth must collapse

Overall quite interesting and covered a wide range of technology and topics
Profile Image for Aaron.
196 reviews33 followers
March 3, 2017
Inspired me to my mechanical/aerospace major, Zubrin sets a game plan for the development of humanity through each stage of "energy" existence- from planetary, to solar, to galactic- without relying on magical warp drives, but rather conventional high school physics and chemistry that we can all understand.

It explains how things should work without being like those bothersome, "Science of StarTrek/HarryPotter/XMen" books.
Profile Image for Bob.
182 reviews5 followers
November 4, 2013
I have never read a science or engineering book of such sweeping vision. Not only does it give insight about the next steps for the culture and technology of this planet, but it is an intelligent discussion of what's going on in the rest of the galaxy and the universe. This is better than The Starflight Handbook or Prospects for Interstellar Travel. Highly, highly recommended
37 reviews4 followers
November 30, 2008
Zubrin made the case for Mars. This is his ultimate manifesto for mankind conquering space. He manages to slay a number of dragons in this work and points out a number of potential "goldmine" industries that could emerge as humanity enters space.
Profile Image for Tracy Black.
81 reviews10 followers
January 20, 2009
This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It's a little dated in parts (published 2000), but still a gem. Zubrin's writing is both insprirational and informative. He argued a better case for the space program than any author I've ever read.
Profile Image for Bob.
116 reviews
July 13, 2012
Zubrin offers his take on the various reasons for going into space, and shows that many of the often-cited ones are economically unfeasible. If you are interested in space, check this book out for sure.
Profile Image for Matt Ely.
673 reviews40 followers
February 4, 2016
Essential reading for anyone who wants to see the ideological necessity and practical feasibility of space colonization. An exciting and compelling narrative on the immediacy with which we can embrace the human destiny of interstellar travel.
Profile Image for John Barazzuol.
166 reviews2 followers
July 10, 2018
Really excellent compilation of ideas for making us a space faring species. Not for people who like sports or Kim Kardasian. I thought it was super awesome and will refer back to it in the future(pun intented)
Profile Image for Jake.
20 reviews1 follower
July 17, 2008
I really enjoyed this book. He discusses seemingly doable and necessary plans for us to become a space-faring civilization. Really fascinating.

Profile Image for Elsie.
11 reviews
June 13, 2012
Absolutely fantastic!! I would recommend this to all Sci-fi readers!
Profile Image for Robert Madsen.
Author 1 book
March 24, 2016
This was a great book filled with good science and facts relating to expanding humanity into space.
Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews

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