What do UFOs, astrology, the Apollo 11 moon landing, and Elon Musk’s launch of a sports car into orbit all have in common? How about the Challenger and Columbia shuttle accidents, or NASA’s close-up view of Pluto? All of these objects (and the seminal events related to them) captivated public attention and allowed us to contemplate a larger universe. Some are potent urban myths, legends, and failed mythologies. Others are the seemingly miraculous and rock-hard revelations from science.
In this eclectic guide to the history of space exploration, as told through the lens of 100 objects, author Sten Odenwald shows how our modern intuitions about space, and our exploration of it, have been sculpted by more than just the geopolitically potent launch of Sputnik. For the past century, space has become a pastiche of awe-inspiring scientific discoveries, far-out technological gadgetry, and emotionally visceral events. Together, they form the history of space of popular imagination.