Our own Emily Lakdawalla, Planetary Society Senior Editor and book lover, shares her 2019 list of space books for every age range, from infant to adult. She also presents a list of cool space gifts recommended by scientists and engineers. Bruce Betts provides a tantalizing tease for what could be a brief but massive shower of meteors. And theres much more to look for in the fall sky.
What is the new or relatively new name for the most distant object visited by a spacecraft?
The winner will be revealed next week.
Apollo 4 was the first launch of the Saturn V rocket.
Mat Kaplan: [00:00:00] Need a great space book? Emily has the list this week on Planetary Radio. Welcome. I'm Mat Kaplan, of the Planetary Society, with more of the human adventure across our solar system and beyond. It's that time of year, Planetary Society senior editor, Emily Lakdawalla is back with her annual list of outstanding books for space nerds of all ages. She'll join me in moments to list just a few of her faves, and she'll read a few passages. You'll also hear my top picks, and we'll sample Emily's separate list of great gifts recommended by space professionals.
Bruce Betts is also ahead on this home team edition of our show. Here are three stories torn from the latest edition of The Downlink, the Planetary Society's weekly digest of space exploration and science headlines. Planetary Society editorial director [00:01:00] Jason Davis has more waiting for you at planetary.org/downlink.
Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft left asteroid Ryugu after spending nearly a year and a half collecting samples, creating an artificial crater, and deploying small probes. The spacecraft will return its two samples of Ryugu to earth in about a year. They might tell us more about the origin and evolution of the solar system.
Ultima Thule, no more. That wondrous Kuiper belt object, officially known till now as 2014 MU69, has been given the name Arrokoth by the International Astronomical Union. The Native American term means sky in the Powhatan/Algonquian language. The New Horizons spacecraft famously flew past it on New Year's Day, 2019. Ultima Thule was never more than a nickname provided by the mission team.
NASA's Mars Curiosity [00:02:00] Rover has detected seasonal changes in oxygen levels that scientists can't explain. The findings may be related to a similar ongoing mystery over fluctuating methane levels. There's a chance the changes could be linked to underground life. Though a non biological explanation is more likely, need we remind you that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence? Of course, I believe it's a grove of giant sequoias in the Valles Marineris with squirrels. Kidding. The Downlink has lots of links waiting for all of you who wanna explore these and other stories. No kidding.
Going now our friend and colleague, Emily Lakdawalla. I'll remind you again later, but all the books she recommends on her 2019 list can be found in the blog at planetary.org, along with the gift guide. Emily, like you, books have meant, right from the beginning, and still today, mean so much to [00:03:00] me. I remember, in fact, I still have the Life Science Library that my parents bought us. And my favorite volume in that library, the book simply called Space, uh, which gave me a good deal of my introduction to, uh, astronomy, and astronautics, and space exploration.
And then, uh, science fiction as well, not something that you cover, uh, except for the, I guess, the youngest kids, there's a little bit of fiction here, but I still have some, um, some old Robert Heinlein young adult books here. Books are that important to you too, aren't they?
Emily L.: Yeah, I've been a, a huge reader all my life. So it was a little difficult when I had children and I didn't have as much time as I used to, to just get lost in books. Um, like you say, fantasy, Sci-Fi, um, non-fiction. I used to devour everything. I remember a book that changed my life was The Dinosaur Heresies by Robert Bakker, which I read as an eighth grader, which had the gall to question established science and propose this revolutionary idea that dinosaurs might actually be [00:04:00] birds. And it's just been delightful to watch that whole thing unfold. So books are very important to me.
And you know, when I became a parent, I wasn't reading so many books intended for adults, but I was reading, consuming and reading aloud a great many books for children. And it occurred to me that I could have a little fun by, uh, suggesting to other parents books that would be good, that were about space, kind of, you know, dovetail both of my interests being a, being a parent and, and of course space exploration. The delightful thing about that is that after doing this for now, 11 years, I get shipped boxes and boxes of books all year long and it's like Christmas every day I get one of these, I get to open it up and see what's inside.
Mat Kaplan: Great fun. As you know, I, I get, uh, some of these as well, but they tend to be intended for adults. I had the best time, some of my best parental memories are of reading to my daughters who I am delighted to say are both avid readers now and, and very fine [00:05:00] writers. And I'm sure that that was very much tied to their exposure to books as young kids.
Emily L.: Oh, definitely. My kids are, are of course avid readers too. And um, it was really important to me that I read books to them that weren't just, you know, informative and had good a story, but the language had to be enjoyable as well. The word choices rich, the rhythm of the sentences, fun to read aloud. And so I, I always look for that in the books that I recommend to my annual book list.
Mat Kaplan: Well, so I don't think that we've ever thrown away a children's book because Adrian was planning for grandchildren right from the start. And so we have shelves downstairs. You have on this newest list, a bunch of, uh, books that, uh, probably belong on some of those shelves. Let's, uh, start going through some of these. And, and I know you've got them divided up by, uh, age range.
Emily L.: Yes. When I recommend book for, books for kids, I'm, I'm not kidding, I, I recommend books for all ages zero to 18. And so to help people out in selecting books for their own kids or their niblings or, whoever, um, I do divide them by age. It's [00:06:00] funny. D-, different years I get a more or less of different age range books. This year was a particularly good year for books for ages around four to seven. The kind that you read aloud to a child who's just beginning to learn to read for themselves. There were some great ones this year.
Mat Kaplan: Okay. And you start even younger than that as you said, zero to, what is it, zero to three?
Emily L.: Mm-hmm [affirmative]-
Mat Kaplan: Even infants, um, get 'em while they're young.
Emily L.: [Laughs]. I have to say some of the books in that category are really more for the parents than they are for the children, but they're good, uh, you know, durable board books. But let's begin, I think with a book from this four to seven year old range. Um, the first one I, I'd like to talk about is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I Know Exactly What You Are. Uh, which was written by, um, Dr Julia Kregenow, who's a, uh, actually an astronomer at Penn state, um, illustrated by Carmen Saldana. And this, as you might imagine, it's a retelling, a rephrasing of the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star poem. But Kregenow has, has actually managed to [00:07:00] compress into that rhyme a huge amount of information about different kinds of stars across the galaxy. And, um, I'd like to read a little selection of it if I could-
Mat Kaplan: Please do.
Emily L.: So this is, uh, toward the middle of the book. Our sun's average as stars go, formed 5 billion years ago, halfway through its life so far, twinkle midsize, yellow star.
Mat Kaplan: [Laughs]. That's wonderful. What a perfect little [crosstalk 00:07:25].
Emily L.: Hold on.
Mat Kaplan: Oh, there's more?
Emily L.: There's more. I want to read a couple of stanzas. Two stars make a binary or a triple if there's three, some are so low, just like ours, twinkle, twinkle little stars. Quarter trillion stars all stay bound within the Milky way. Dusty spiral with a bar, twinkle galaxy of stars. Stars have planets orbiting rocky or gaseous moons and rings. Earth's unique with life so far, thank you to our precious star.
Mat Kaplan: Oh, that was lovely. Thank you. I think that's one for my, uh, [00:08:00] going on four-year-old grandson.
Emily L.: It's so enjoyable to read, because she's r-, she's really, uh, like, I said, packed a lot of information. Each page has a wonderful illustration with it. Each has some- some facts that'll really teach parents about stars, and yet it still has the proper rhythm, and is hugely enjoyable to read.
Mat Kaplan: For adults too. I mean, that's just fun to listen to and to read.
Emily L.: Absolutely. And that's what I... Those are the kinds of books that I really love, and- and pull off the shelf again and again.
Mat Kaplan: All right, any others for this age group, or do we move on?
Emily L.: Yeah, I had one other I wanted to recommend from this one. It's not inverse, uh, it's just a- a pro story written by Dean Robbins, illustrated by Sean Rubin. It's called The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon. And it's about Alan Bean-
Mat Kaplan: Hm.
Emily L.: ... the Apollo astronaut who became, uh, a space artist after he returned to earth. Robbins talked with Bean doing research for this. And so it's a, it's a very special story about, um ... It's about the Apollo mission, but it's really more about space art and how Bean wanted to use [00:09:00] art to communicate about the- the wonder of exploring the moon with the rest of the public.
Mat Kaplan: And, of course, we only just, uh, celebrated Alan Bean with the, uh, marking of the 50th anniversary of, uh, of Apollo 12.
Emily L.: And I- I'd like to read a selection from this one, too, if I could?
Mat Kaplan: Sure.
Emily L.: Alan's friends asked him about his time in space. "What was it like up there?" He tried to explain the moon's barren beauty, but words weren't enough, and his photographs just showed a grim and gloomy place. There was so much more to the moon than that. So much magic and mystery. How could Alan share his story so others would understand? He pulled out his paints and brushes. Alan knew he was the only artist ever to leave the earth. The only artist ever to see the moon up close. Maybe a painting could show how it felt to be in outer space.
Mat Kaplan: And of course, uh, since then, we've had a number of other artists, uh, follow Alan Bean into space. [00:10:00] And it's just, it's wonderful to think about not just the- the visual artist, but the musicians and others who've, uh, made it up to the international space station and elsewhere above our heads. It's... Does this book contain any of Alan Bean's actual work?
Emily L.: It does not. It, uh, contains, uh- uh, really wonderful illustrations by Sean Rubin, but it doesn't contain Alan Bean's art. It does, um, I think inspire, uh, parents who are pretty much all hyper-connected to the internet these days to, uh, maybe, Google and look for his really very unusual artworks. And it... The book does talk about how, um, his art is not representational, it's abstract. And it's about communicating the feeling of being on the moon, um, the, kind of, human experience of it, as much as it is about showing what the moon looked like to his eyes.
Mat Kaplan: Now I've always enjoyed his, um, his work as well. And I'm looking at the cover of the book and, uh, it's a great illustration by this, uh, Sean Rubin.
Emily L.: And I should mention that Dean Robbins wrote one of the books that I recommended last year, which was called Margaret and the Moon, about Margaret Hamilton. So [00:11:00] he's clearly a space fan, and I look forward to more from him.
Mat Kaplan: Nice, yeah, a return visit, that's great. Okay, let's move on.
Emily L.: Um, moving up a little bit, we're, uh, going up in age to, um, maybe, older elementary school, to kids who are, uh, reading chapter books, um, easy chapter books. And, so, they're looking for short, maybe exciting books with great illustrations. And I have an unusual one to recommend this time around. I'm always a little fearful when I'm contacted by somebody who self-publishes a book, because... Uh, it's not because people can't write well, if they, um, you know, aren't part of the writing establishment. But, um, often they try to publish their books without having any professional editing done. And that, I'll tell you, is a huge mistake.
Mat Kaplan: Mm-hmm [affirmative].
Emily L.: Editors save lives. And, so, um, when I'm contacted by amateur authors or, you know, people who are doing the self-publishing route, I always tell them, "You have to understand. Uh, first of all, I don't recommend you send a book to me that hasn't been edited by somebody who has some skill. And second of all, I almost never recommend [00:12:00] self-published books because they just don't meet that editorial quality."
But this one, uh, really favorably surprised me. It's written by a software engineer named Douglas Meredith, titled Generation Mars, illustrated by Luis Peres. It's a story of the first generation of children born on Mars, and it's intended to be the first in a series. And, I don't know, I have a memory of reading a book, kind of, similar to this, um, as a child that featured children protagonists, about my age, um, experiencing a- a very realistic science fiction future. And it really fired my imagination.
And I- I believe that this story can really do the same thing for kids of that age. Could put them in the boots of these children who are walking out on the martian surface for the first time. The first kids on Mars. And I think it's just a... It has the potential to be a really great and inspiring s- story for that age.
Mat Kaplan: Well that's exactly what Robert Heinlein was up to with his, uh, books for young adults, mostly written in the 1950s, that I certainly identified with. And it [00:13:00] drew me in better than, uh, any of the nonfiction space books that I had started out with, before I discovered Heinlein and the rest of science fiction. Have you got a sample from this one?
Emily L.: I do. So I thought that I'd read part of the book where, um, the child does, the main character, Cass , actually walks out on the surface of Mars for the first time. The outer door rolled open noiselessly, and beyond was the surface. Cass could see a flat red plain that stretched from the air-locked door into the distance. Here and there were round buildings, and rovers, and rover parts stacked neatly.
She stepped out of the air-lock and felt a moment of panic when she looked up the sky. It went on forever, and was not blue like the sky in the town. It was shades of yellow and tan, except for a hazy bluish area around the sun. The sun! That was the real thing! She'd seen pictures of all this, of course, but standing beneath it now for the first time, she felt small and scared. Her head swam and she looked down. "That's quite a sky isn't it, children," [00:14:00] said Sally. "It can be a little scary at first, I know, but come out, gather around, and we'll hold hands while we look."
And then I'll skip forward a little bit. Cass held the gloved hand of the kid to either side of her. She was afraid to look up. She focused on her breathing, counting three for in, and three for out, and looked at the ground to study herself. Her booted feet were huge. She scratched at the red dirt with one, dragging it forward and back slightly, then in a small arc, then in a big curve that became a C. She smiled. She looked up into that endless yellow sky. She let go of her classmates' hands, and she raised her arms up toward that sky, and she wooped. She-
Mat Kaplan: Huh.
Emily L.: ... opened her mouth and let out the loudest, wildest, craziest holler ever heard on the planet.
Mat Kaplan: That is wonderful! Nice work-
Emily L.: [Laughs]
Mat Kaplan: ... uh, Douglas Meredith.
Emily L.: Yeah, it's, uh, it's enjoyable, and I look forward to further installments in the series.
Mat Kaplan: And the cover of the book just happens to be, I- I assume it is a depiction of exactly this scene that you just, uh, [00:15:00] read an excerpt to, uh- uh, from, uh, as these kids in their- their v-, uh, [laughs] very, I don't know, maybe their 22nd century, uh, spacesuits, step out onto the surface of Mars.
Emily L.: Yeah, and I should mention that the illustrations in this book are really beautiful quality. They're full-color paintings, um, and they're just gorgeous.
Mat Kaplan: And those are by, uh, Luis Peres-
Emily L.: Yes.
Mat Kaplan: ... as I see in your list. Let me mention-
Emily L.: Oh ...
Mat Kaplan: ... one. It just happens to be one I'm familiar with, because it's by Sarah Cruddas, who, uh, with a forward by the astronaut, Eileen Collins, uh, The Space Race: The Journey to the Moon and Beyond. Also, really well illustrated. I was very happy to see it in your, in your, uh, list this year. Uh, and it's a great book. Sarah's much better known in the U.K. than she is here, because she's a, kind of, a- a science television, um, personality over there. Uh, but it's, uh, it's a terrific book. Uh, just called the Space Race. And now, please... Sorry for the interruption, Emily, but, uh, go on.
Emily L.: So I've got a great book for the middle grade group. It's, um, it's a young [00:16:00] readers' version of a autobiography by Astronaut, Leland Melvin called Chasing Space. And Leland Melvin is probably best known on the internet right now for a, a his astronaut portrait featuring his two dogs-
Mat Kaplan: [laughs]
Emily L.: ... who are jumping all over him, uh, as he's wearing his, his orange flight suit. His, uh, story is really quite remarkable. He was actually drafted into the NFL. He played briefly for the Detroit Lions before being sidelined by a hamstring injury. He was actually on the Cowboys, uh, briefly but was cut before the season started. And he went on to grad school and then became an astronaut. Flew two missions aboard Atlantis, and, um, is now, uh, retired from the astronaut work. But he's, uh, doing a lot of work touring all over the country, um, giving, uh, talks, uh, supporting STEM education, especially for Black youth.
And I have to say, his autobiography is just gripping. There are so many moments in his story that could have ended all hope of having any kind of [00:17:00] distinguished future. And then there are all these kind of moments of grace where things just line up and are lucky for him. And of course, he's skilled and intelligent and, and all of that. His writing is really excellent. But he never fails to give a huge amount of credit to all the people who helped him along the way. And so, it's just, it's a delightful read. I haven't read the adult, the originally version. This is the young readers' edition. Um, but I assume it's, it's just as exciting. This is a, a fast read. And I'm, I'm [laughs] sure it covers, um, uh, most of the same material.
Mat Kaplan: I'll note that the adult version of, uh, Leland's book is, uh, on your gift guide, which we will address in a few minutes briefly. Uh, it's, it's a great book. And, and, man, this guy has lead an amazing life. Almost, uh, lost the opportunity to become an astronaut for reasons that we won't go into. It would give too much away of the story. But, uh, I agree, it's great and, and just a, a very nice guy as well. He's visited us at the Planetary Society.
Emily L.: Yeah. He really is. And the stories that he [00:18:00] tells, you know, he's, he's certainly faced the same kind of discrimination, um, all throughout his life as any other African American does. And he's also gotten extraordinary opportunities. He was actually... He actually had to be, had to be talked into applying for a job at NA-, at NASA. And he actually decided he wasn't going to apply to be an astronaut, because he figured it was too long a shot.
Mat Kaplan: Uh-huh [affirmative].
Emily L.: And then one of his friends, uh, applied and became an astronaut. And he was like, "This five foot tall guy became an astronaut," or five foot four, whatever, "became an astronaut. Then surely I could do it."
Mat Kaplan: [laughs]
Emily L.: And so, um, there's, there's all these moments. It's really wonderful. I have two selections, uh, from this book to read.
Mat Kaplan: Go for it.
Emily L.: Okay. So, the first is, uh, just after he's been, um, selected as an astronaut and he is, is talking about moving to Houston. "I bought a house in El Lago, the neighborhood where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin lived at the time of the first moon landing. El Lago City Hall has an Astronaut Wall of Fame with photos of all the astronauts who had lived there. 48 at last count, including me. The house I found was simple but [00:19:00] beautiful, and I remember thinking, 'I could get used to this.'"
Mat Kaplan: [laughs]
Emily L.: "On the other hand, some people had to get used to me. El Lago wasn't a place that had seen a lot of Black people, let alone many Black astronauts. The day I moved in, a woman across the street stared at me, her arms folded across her chest. 'Hi,' I said, and waved to her. She shook her head and walked back into her house. Thanks for the warm welcome, neighbor."
Mat Kaplan: [laughs]
Emily L.: So, that's, uh, that's the first selection. And then here's, uh, the second one, um, is coming at a time when, uh, is actually right after, really the moment after the space shuttle, Columbia, broke up on re-entry. "Everyone at NASA Headquarters was focused on one thing, taking care of our families. Every astronaut chooses what's known as a crew astronaut casualty officer, or CACO, when he joins the Corps. The CACO's job is to help the family interact with NASA in case of a disaster. That afternoon, I was asked to provide support to the parents of David Brown, the flight surgeon who had been [00:20:00] along the crew. I wasn't David's CACO, but he was a close friend. David had lead the investigation to find out what happened to my hearing in the NBL pool. He helped me through one of the most difficult periods of my life with a patience and grace that I'll never forget."
Skipping down a little bit. "'My son is gone. There's nothing you can do to bring him back,' David's father said to me. 'But the biggest tragedy would be if we don't continue to fly in space to carry on his legacy.' Judge Brown's comments, his grace in the midst of grief hit me in the heart. I knew he was right. We couldn't give up. I couldn't give up. His strength and conviction in the shadow of what I know was one of the darkest moments of his life changed how I felt about my place in the world and gave me a whole new understanding of what it means to think of others first. In that moment, I dedicated myself to doing everything I could to honor his words."
Mat Kaplan: Oh, that's very effecting. Very nice selection.
Emily L.: Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Highly recommend it to both kids and adults. And actually, that's true for, um, all the [00:21:00] middle grade and, um, teen books I recommend. Several of them are not even in-, intended for children. They're just accessible to children. And I, I often find that, uh, uh, books that work well for young, younger readers are really often the best explainers of experiences, of, uh, events. And, um, they really kind of get to the heart of what happens in major events.
Mat Kaplan: I've got a great example of one of those that, uh, you also included in this age range of 11 to 13. And it's, uh, Visual Galaxy, which is just as spectacular as you would expect a book to be from National Geographic. Uh, and you point out that it's about [laughs] ... It's not just pictures of the Milk Way Galaxy and others. It's really about the contents of the galaxy, including our own solar system. And it, it is gorgeous.
Emily L.: Yeah. It's a whole planetary science textbook.
Mat Kaplan: Yeah. More of Emily and her list of great books is coming right up. But first, how about The Great Courses Plus? [laughs] One of my favorite ways to, uh, to learn. [00:22:00] And it makes learning so easy and accessible. Thousands upon thousands of lectures on pretty much every topic that you can think of, and you can do it at any place, lunch break, the gym, washing dishes if you want. And here is a personal recommendation for you. I highly recommend Apollo 11: Lessons for All Time. It is The Great Courses Plus special tribute to the 50th Anniversary of Apollo.
Four lectures, each one of them taught by a wonderful specialist in their field looking at the geopolitics of Apollo, the moon itself, what the moon taught us about the rest of the solar system and beyond. It's absolutely outstanding. And here is that special deal that is available to you listeners. You can go to thegreatcoursesplus.com/planetary and get a free month, not just for this course but every one of the hundreds and hundreds of courses offered by The Great Courses Plus. That's it, [00:23:00] thegreatcoursesplus.com/planetary to start your free month. Have fun learning. Where to now?
Emily L.: In the oldest age group, I'm recommending, um, several books that, like I said, they're not marketed at teens. They're marketed at adults, just accessible to teens. And I have a, a really unusual and fun book, um, by James Trefil and Michael Summers called Imagined Life. It's a book about astrobiology. So, it explains in very plain language, um, really easy to understand how we are looking for life in the universe, what we're looking for when we're looking for life in the universe, why we are looking for life that might look similar to ours, uh, to life on our own planet, and, um, the, some of the techniques that we're trying to use and some of the places, in particular, the places where we're looking for life.
But astrobiology is a, is a funny sort of field. [laughs] There's not a whole lot of data. In fact, we only have one planet where we know that life exists. And so, it's a, it's a little hard to look for, because we don't know exactly what we're looking for. And so, uh, more and [00:24:00] half of this book goes in, into a little bit more speculative territory, where, um, they discussed some different kinds of planets where life might exist and, and how that life might have originated, um, might, uh, thrive and live and consume, uh, energy and reproduce on these different kinds of exoplanets that we've discovered.
And it begins each chapter with a little paragraph introduction that's, that just a little snippet of science fiction. The wonderful thing about this book is that it, it really provides a handbook for people who are interested in basing their science fiction writing on good, strong scientific fact. And so I highly recommend this book as a resource for anybody who wants to write hard science fiction.
Mat Kaplan: I was not aware of this book until I saw it in your list, but I have many books on my shelf, science fiction and nonfiction, about astrobiology, about, uh, the possibilities of alien life. And, eh, from that book that I mentioned right up front, [00:25:00] the, uh, Life Science Library, uh, uh, volume called Space, what stuck with me more than anything in that book were the speculative drawings and paintings of possible aliens, including, uh, this beautiful color illustration of these floating furry gas bags with cat eyes that people speculate could live in the atmospheres of a place like, uh, like Jupiter or the gas giants around the galaxy. Who knows, until we go out and look for ourselves? But this is great stuff and, uh, I, I wanna pick this one up.
Emily L.: Yeah. You know, the, uh, a long time ago before we had all these wonderful space missions, we definitely had to employ more artistic imagination to imagine what was going on on, on other worlds. Now it, it may seem like there's less of opportunity for that, but one of the things I like to say the most about space exploration, and really, actually, any kind of science in general, is that in order to discover something, especially in space, you have to imagine what [00:26:00] might be there first. You have to select missions and instruments that are designed for worlds you've never seen. And so there has to be this speculative imagination among the people who intend to explore planets. And so it's really great to see people who, who write science fact, who write nonfiction, get that opportunity to do all of this imagining.
Mat Kaplan: Fun stuff. I love this kind of speculation. Do you have something to read, uh, to us? A little sample of the Imagined Life?
Emily L.: Yeah. I'd like to read to you the transition that goes from the more fact filled, uh, first third of the book and into the more speculative last part of the book. In what follows, we introduce each new world with a short fictional sketch that describes how a human being, suitably protected and provided with sensing equipment, might experience the environment he or she is encountering. We have chosen this way of introducing the planets for one simple reason, as we have repeatedly stressed terrestrial life is the only kind of life we know about. It constitutes, therefore, the only living [00:27:00] organisms whose response to the new environment we can guess that with some hope of success. With this in mind, let's take a look at a world that we will call Icehein.
Mat Kaplan: Hm.
Emily L.: You're in a long dark tunnel, walled with solid ice. The only light seems to be coming from a far off volcanic vent that is spewing molten material from the planet's interior into your tunnel. At your feet, you dimly spot a pipe leading toward the tunnel's end. The air around it is warm and humid, and you see that it is squirting hot water to melt a clear path from the vents to the exit. Your stomach rumbles. Your trip here has made you hungry. You notice that around the volcanic vent are fields of tube worms, white and red. You sample one, not bad. Perhaps they be-
Mat Kaplan: [Laughs].
Emily L.: Perhaps they could become a staple of your diet here on this strange planet called Icehein. And so they go on to explain that, that Icehein is a water world. It's a, it's a large world with a huge ocean that's, uh, covered with a very [00:28:00] thick layer of ice. So it's a little bit like, um, Europa, but, [laughs], icier, waterier, and a standalone world as opposed to a moon of Jupiter. They do get to Europa later on in the book, and to many other more, uh, unusual kinds of planets. So it's, it's a really an enjoyable read.
Read more from the original source:
Space Books and Gifts for Space Kids of all Ages - The Planetary Society