ISBN 978-1-58089-728-0 $18.99R Gr. 4–8
It took clever observations and some political wrangling to get the twin spacecraft, Voyager I and Voyager II, off the ground in 1977. As some scientists suggested that spacecraft could reduce fuel consumption to near zero by using planets’ gravitational fields as acceleration “assists,” other scientists noted that a narrow window of opportunity, due to planetary alignment, would open in 1977, giving a space mission a clear path to planet hop right on out of the solar system. Government coffers weren’t exactly overflowing for this ambitious project, but a more modest flight was proposed—settle for Jupiter and Saturn, with one craft to do the research and the other as a backup. The concept and execution worked so well that, forty years later, the Grand Tour is still going on, with the Voyagers sending data back to Earth from beyond Neptune. Siy is an enthusiastic tour guide, presenting the highlights of planetary fly-bys that changed our understanding of space with every fresh data drop. Each chapter begins with a brief history lesson of what we thought we knew and then moves on to lively discussion of what we now think we might know instead. Siy incorporates mini science lessons as need arises throughout the text, which results in a smooth, sidebar-free reading experience. Plenty of photographs, captioned to denote whether the image is false colored, will attract browsers, while source notes and resource lists will direct report writers to information about their favorite mind-blowing discoveries. Best of all, there’s more to come.