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Award-winning science writer and documentarian Rod Pyle presents an insider's perspective on the most unusual and bizarre space missions ever devised inside and outside of NASA. The incredible projects described here were not merely flights of fancy dreamed up by space enthusiasts, but actual missions planned by leading aeronautical engineers. Some were designed but not built; others were built but not flown; and a few were flown to failure but little reported:

A giant rocket that would use atomic bombs as propulsion (never mind the fallout), military bases on the moon that could target enemies on earth with nuclear weapons, a scheme to spray-paint the lenses of Soviet spy satellites in space, the rushed Soyuz 1 spacecraft that ended with the death of its pilot, the near-disaster of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the mysterious Russian space shuttle that flew only once and was then scrapped--these are just some of the unbelievable tales that Pyle has found in once top-secret documents as well as accounts that were simply lost for many decades.

These stories, complimented by many rarely-seen photos and illustrations, tell of a time when nothing was too off-the-wall to be taken seriously, and the race to the moon and the threat from the Soviet Union trumped all other considerations. Readers will be fascinated, amused, and sometimes chilled.


PRAISE FOR CURIOSITY: "Ebullient science writer Rod Pyle follows...Destination Mars with more hot reportage of the red planet in this comprehensive study.... Gripping behind-the-scenes encounters abound." -NATURE MORE PRAISE FOR THE WORK OF ROD PYLE: "[Pyle] tackles the tale with great enthusiasm. He puts the masterminds behind the missions up front, describing how they think and work, everywhere from conference rooms to control rooms.... Pyle really takes you with him as he explores their minds and machinery.... Curiosity will satisfy your personal curiosity about Mars, its intrepid robotic explorer and the people who made it all work." - New Scientist "Nothing is more human than curiosity--looking around the next corner, the next mountain . . . the next planet. This sense of undaunted wonder is brought to life in Rod Pyle's tour of our fascinating love affair with Mars." - David Brin, astronomer, author of Existence and The Postman "Pyle's own fascination with the high adventure of Mars exploration comes through in this highly approachable account of one of the most audacious scientific endeavors of all time." - Mike Okuda, recipient of the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal, 2009 "This book is a front-row ticket to a magnificent adventure. With his own boundless curiosity, keen eye for detail, and infectious enthusiasm, Rod Pyle takes you inside the world of the most advanced and ambitious mission to the red planet. It's a journey you don't want to miss." - Andrew Chaikin, author of A Passion for Mars "Rod Pyle captures the essence and deep detail of the greatest robotic adventure ever put forth--with its challenges and triumphs, Curiosity's mission is a testament to what we can achieve. With his fascinating insights, Pyle causes us to look forward to a spectacular future of exploration." - David Knight, original XPRIZE team member

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    May 15, 2017

    Prometheus Books

    325 pages

    RRP $32.99

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Book List
The Final Frontier

Elevate your imagination to the stars… and beyond.

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