10 Best Books About Space Travel Update 05/2022

It was one of the little things I noticed after living in space for a while: It took some work to keep my arms pressed against my body, which isn’t always the case on Earth. As a child, I used to read a lot of books. Having a better memory of that would have made me less shocked. Jules Verne came up with this idea in 1865. During the book From the Earth to the Moon, a character says that “their bodies were completely without weight.” Their arms were no longer aimed at their sides. Orlando Furioso, by Ludovico Ariosto, was written in 1516, and the knight Astolfo flies to the moon to find Orlando’s lost wits. That wasn’t the first time literature thought about going to the moon. Cyrano de Bergerac’s satirical book, The Other World: Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon, was written in the 17th century. In 1857, Italian astronomer Ernest Capocci wrote a book about the first trip to the moon, which he thought would be made by a woman named Urania in 2057. Yet, Verne was the first to write about the project with some level of engineering credibility, which led to him being called one of the “fathers of science fiction.”

After many years, space travel became a reality. So, along with fiction, which keeps pushing us to think outside the box and raise important questions, we now have books that tell the story of real spaceflight. There are a lot of those. My book is one. When I was chosen to be an apprentice astronaut, the process was long and nerve-wracking. I spent five years in training. As a child, I learned how to swim in a pool and how to use a centrifuge. I also learned about emergency and survival drills. I always had a suitcase with me, and I lived across the world. Until one day, a rocket was ready to take me to the International Space Station, which is where humanity has set up shop in space. My body would be weightless for 200 days. I would see the sun rise and set 16 times each day, and I would be awed by how quickly the Earth moved beneath me. I would slowly learn how to be an extraterrestrial person. If you read them both in fiction and real life, these books seem the closest to what happened to that person who was so different.

Carrying the Fire by Mike Collins

I’m fascinated by Collins because of how alone he was while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were on the surface of the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. In this book, he tells the truth about his life. It is honest, humble, and not afraid to go into the details. It’s one of my favorite quotes from the book: “I haven’t been able to do these things because I have any special abilities. Instead, it’s all been down to the roll of the dice.”

If the Sun Dies by Oriana Fallaci

One hundred years after Jules Verne wrote From the Earth to the Moon, Fallaci wrote this book about the US space program. He did a lot of research and had a lot of access to the places where the Apollo missions took place, as well as to astronauts, scientists, and doctors. In this book, the author tells the truth with no holds barred and in a way that is both interesting and relatable. Facts are mixed with her own emotions and intellectual struggles. Fallaci is torn between embracing technology-driven progress and staying true to humanistic tradition. She paints a vivid picture of the space community, and astronauts in particular, that breaks every stereotype.

How Apollo Flew to the Moon by W David Woods

This is a book that is completely geeky. It tells the whole story of how the Apollo missions were done and the engineering feats that made them possible. Rigorous and exhaustive, but written in an easy-to-read and interesting way that is good for people who aren’t very knowledgeable about the subject.

Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge by Asif A Siddiqi

There have been many years of research into the Russian-language archives that were available in the post-Soviet era. This book is based on that research. It’s a fascinating look at the USSR’s space program, from its beginnings to the 1970s. It’s good for anyone who wants to learn about history and space.

Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

How do you pee in space? This book, which at times makes you laugh, tells the story of how the author tried to figure out this and many other things about how to be a human in space. However, even though she doesn’t hide that she prefers to tell stories about things that aren’t very pleasant or even disgusting from the early days of human spaceflight, this book is a lot of fun and is very educational.

The Martian by Andy Weir

Because of the movie adaptation, the story is well-known. In the movie, Matt Damon says, “I’m going to have to science the shit out of this.” As long as you don’t forget about the storm that started the events and the almost supernatural amount of luck that is needed for everything to work out just right, everything is possible.

The Invincible by Stanisław

Lem An interstellar spaceship lands on an alien planet to investigate the mysterious death of another crew. This novel weaves together memorable futuristic battles with an intriguing quest for understanding that challenges conventional, anthropocentric ideas about intelligence and evolution.

Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon

The disembodied narrator’s consciousness, to his own surprise, is sent away from Earth on a mind-boggling journey through time and space that would make this book one of the best of its kind on its own. Not only is this not a book or a movie, but it’s also not about normal space travel. Instead, it’s social-philosophical speculation on a cosmic scale, with boundless, fearless imagination and mythopoeic ambition. This is not what I meant.

The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino

Lightness is one of the virtues Calvino talked about in the first of his Six Memos for the Next Millennium. “Lightness, for me, is linked to precision and definition, not to the vague and hazy.” He said: “One must be light like a bird, not like a feather.” For that, see Cosmicomics, which is how they work. These short stories are a dizzying ride of the mind, witty, light-hearted, endearing, and yet they are clearly based on scientific theories and are consistent with their basic ideas.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

There was a lot of majesty and calm in Deep Thought’s voice when he said “forty-two.” He had been pondering for a million years the “ultimate question to life, the universe, and everything.” Because I was on Expedition 42 on the International Space Station, I made sure this was in my “essential” bag. It reminded space travelers of two things that they should keep in mind. First, don’t freak out! As a second thing, let’s not be too serious about ourselves!

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