Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Maternity Leave Reading

Wow, do I have an amazing "Space Publication Critical Evaluation" or SP[A]CE for you today, just in time to stock up on some good reads before your maternity leave! [Let's be honest, baby books aren't really all that interesting ;-)] And don't worry if maternity leave isn't looming over your head like it is mine, take a "mental health" day to knock out that space-nerd bug with some spectacular space infographics!

Cosmos The infographic book of space by Stuart Lowe and Chris North

Just when I was feeling like space books were getting a little "stale" Cosmos showed up at my door step. I assure you this book is anything but stale. The general premise is a compilation of beautifully crafted "infographics" (read: fun ways to interpret and graphically display data) about a wide variety of space topics. Initially I thought that the book may open to a Buzzfeed-type conglomeration of graphics made by a variety of different sources, but no!! Lowe and North have gathered, organized and presented space data in a cohesively cosmic collection!  

The book is quite the conversation starter -- my husband and I talked for over an hour about launch sites at Kwajalein, since this tiny island he grew up on was mentioned in the book! Besides just trading atoms with the couch while ingesting the enormous amount of data, it would also be a fun trivia game source, or serve as jumping off point into a tangent of wikipedia articles (of course I never get on crazy wikipedia tangents ;-). 




By far my favorite graphic showed a map of the world with launch sites and trajectory lines, the length of which represented the number of launches from that site into a specific trajectory! I also loved the statistics about which types of Astronomy Picture of the Day is shared most often on which social media platform (i.e. pictures of skyscapes are the most popular amongst Facebook and Twitter users). That data may not be particularly useful, but it IS particularly interesting!!

This rocket scientist enjoyed the pages about astronaut genders and space debris and launch timelines and telescope sizes and lunar eclipses and well, you get the point. Essentially if I could sum up my reaction to the book in an infographic it would just be one of those giant toothy-smiling emoji with the rocket emojis on either side (because, emotions are hard to infographic). 

Cosmos, The infographic book of space receives a full 5 stars overall (from the sun to Wolf 359), 5 Hubble Space Telescopes for literally an entire book of beautiful graphics and 5 orbital mechanics equations for scientific accuracy presented in a fun way (what? orbital mechanics equations can totally be fun, don't judge me!)!! That's Nerdy April's first 5x5x5 review, great job Cosmos!


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Full Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of Cosmos The infographic book of space from Aurum Press. All opinions, including successful launches (yays) and exploding failures (nays) are purely mine, feel free to engineer your own!