Journey into Space (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
This book is both the memoir of an administrator/scientist and a plea for future American support for space exploration. Bruce Murray was the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) from 1976 to 1982. Before and after his stint as director, he served on the Caltech faculty as a space scientist, having first become interested in planetary science while a postdoctoral research fellow at Caltech in 1960. His service with Caltech and JPL corresponded to the period when these institutions served as the hub of American efforts in the unmanned exploration of the planets. In Journey into Space he presents an opinionated, insider’s view of the successes and failures of America’s robotic planetary exploration program, bringing a unique perspective to a pivotal period in the history of American science. Murray wrote this memoir as a response to the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 and his fear that Americans had lost the drive to explore the solar system.
The 1960’s and 1970’s and, to a much lesser extent, the 1980’s were exciting decades for American planetary scientists. The Soviet Union launched many more space vehicles to the planets, but the United States had a much higher success rate. The Mariners, Vikings, and Pioneers all sent back new and important information about Mercury, Venus, Mars, and the outer planets in the form of pictures and data. Previous theories...
(The entire section is 1444 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
Booklist. LXXXV, June 15, 1989, p. 1775.
Business Week. July 17, 1989, p. 12.
The Economist. CCCXII, September 2, 1989, p. 85.
Kirkus Reviews. LVII, May 15, 1989, p. 754.
Library Journal. CXIV, July, 1989, p. 104.
Los Angeles Times Book Review. July 16, 1989, p. 1.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXV, June 9, 1989, p. 47.
The Washington Post Book World. XIX, July 9, 1989, p. 1.
(The entire section is 43 words.)