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Explore Space

By Denise Hudec

How are planetary systems, asteroids, and comets formed? What are solar storms and how do they affect Earth? What are we learning about Mars? Are there habitable worlds out there? These questions, and more, are topics of a national traveling exhibit we are hosting October 25 through December 29.

Check out our staff's favorite space titles and then visit the exhibit in the library’s central lobby to learn more about our universe. Skokie Public Library is one of only 14 sites throughout the country selected to host this exhibit. It shows the universe, and our place in it, in a way that is easy to understand and inspirational.

  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

    2010 by Roach, Mary

    "Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can't walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As the author discovers, it's possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA's new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), she takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth."

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  • Leviathan Wakes

    2011 by Corey, James S. A.

    "When Captain Jim Holden's ice miner stumbles across a derelict, abandoned ship, he uncovers a secret that threatens to throw the entire system into war. Attacked by a stealth ship belonging to the Mars fleet, Holden must find a way to uncover the motives behind the attack, stop a war and find the truth behind a vast conspiracy that threatens the entire human race."

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  • Seveneves

    2015 by Stephenson, Neal

    "Five thousand years later after a catastrophic event rendered the Earth a ticking time bomb, the progeny of a handful of outer space explorers--seven distinct races now three billion strong--embark on yet another audacious journey: to return to Earth."

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  • Wanderers

    2014 by Kim, Susan

    "In four years Prime Space will put the first humans on Mars. Helen Kane, Yoshi Tanaka, and Sergei Kuznetsov must prove they're the crew for the job by spending seventeen months in the most realistic simulation ever created. Retired from NASA, Helen had not trained for irrelevance. It is nobody's fault that the best of her exists in space, but her daughter can't help placing blame. The MarsNOW mission is Helen's last chance to return to the only place she's ever truly felt at home. For Yoshi, it's an opportunity to prove himself worthy of the wife he has loved absolutely, if not quite rightly. Sergei is willing to spend seventeen months in a tin can if it means travelling to Mars. He will at least be tested past the point of exhaustion, and this is the example he will set for his sons. As the days turn into months the line between what is real and unreal becomes blurred, and the astronauts learn that the complications of inner space are no less fraught than those of outer space."

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  • The Martian: A Novel

    2014 by Weir, Andy

    "Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old 'human error' are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

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  • Old Man's War

    2007 by Scalzi, John

    "To defend Earth from violent alien races, the Colonial Defense Forces recruits the world's elderly, hoping to create an intellectual army that will outwit the aliens and preserve life on Earth."

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  • Dune

    2005 by Herbert, Frank

    "Follows the adventures of Paul Atreides, the son of a betrayed duke given up for dead on a treacherous desert planet and adopted by its fierce, nomadic people, who help him unravel his most unexpected destiny."

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  • Starship Troopers

    2010 by Heinlein, Robert A.

    "With Earth embroiled in a vast interplanetary war with the "Bugs," a young recruit in the Federal Reserves relates his experiences training in boot camp and as a junior officer in the Terran Mobile Infantry."

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  • Childhood's End

    2001 by Clarke, Arthur C.

    "The Overlords appeared suddenly over every city, intellectually, technologically, and militarily superior to humankind. Benevolent, they made few demands: unify earth, eliminate poverty, and end war. With little rebellion, humankind agreed, and a golden age began. But what is the cost? With the advent of peace, man ceases to strive for creative greatness, and a malaise settles over the human race. To those who resist, it becomes evident that the Overlords have an agenda of their own."

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  • I, Robot

    2008 by Asimov, Isaac

    "The three laws of Robotics: 1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm 2) A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law."

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  • The Martian Chronicles

    1997 by Bradbury, Ray

    "Leaving behind a world on the brink of destruction, man came to the Red Planet and found the Martians waiting, dreamlike. Seeking the promise of a new beginning, man brought with him his oldest fears and his deepest desires. Man conquered Mars-- and in that instant, Mars conquered him. The strange new world, with its ancient, dying race and vast red-gold deserts, cast a spell on him, settled into his dreams, and changed him forever."

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  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

    1996 by Dick, Philip K.

    "It was January 2021, and Rick Deckard had a license to kill. Somewhere among the hordes of humans out there, lurked several rogue androids. Deckard's assignment--find them and then..."retire" them. Trouble was, the androids all looked exactly like humans, and they didn't want to be found!"

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  • 2001, A Space Odyssey

    2000 by Clarke, Arthur C.

    "On the moon, an enigma is uncovered. So great are the implications that, for the first time, men are sent deep into our solar system. But before they can reach their destination, things begin to go very wrong. From the savannas of Africa at the dawn of mankind to the rings of Saturn at the turn of the 21st century, Arthur C. Clarke takes us on a journey unlike any other."

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  • A Fire Upon the Deep

    2011 by Vinge, Vernor

    "Thousands of years hence, many races inhabit a universe where a mind's potential is determined by its location in space, from superintelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures and technology can function. Nobody knows what strange force partitioned space into these "regions of thought," but when the warring Straumli realm use an ancient Transcendent artifact as a weapon, they unwittingly unleash an awesome power that destroys thousands of worlds and enslaves all natural and artificial intelligence. Fleeing the threat, a family of scientists, including two children, are taken captive by the Tines, an alien race with a harsh medieval culture, and used as pawns in a ruthless power struggle. A rescue mission, not entirely composed of humans, must rescue the children-and a secret that may save the rest of interstellar civilization."

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  • Armada: A Novel

    2015 by Cline, Ernest

    "It's just another day of high school for Zack Lightman. He's daydreaming through another boring math class, with just one more month to go until graduation and freedom--if he can make it that long without getting suspended again. Then he glances out his classroom window and spots the flying saucer. At first, Zack thinks he's going crazy. A minute later, he's sure of it. Because the UFO he's staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada--in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders. But what Zack's seeing is all too real. And his skills--as well as those of millions of gamers across the world--are going to be needed to save the earth from what's about to befall it. Yet even as he and his new comrades scramble to prepare for the alien onslaught, Zack can't help thinking of all the science-fiction books, TV shows, and movies he grew up reading and watching, and wonder: Doesn't something about this scenario seem a little too... familiar?"

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