Cover: The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System, from Harvard University PressCover: The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System in HARDCOVER

The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System

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Product Details


$27.95 • £19.95 • €25.20

ISBN 9780674049987

Publication: September 2010


304 pages

7 x 8 inches

225 color illustrations, 25 halftones

Belknap Press


The extreme events that we hear about daily—hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions—are extreme in purely human terms, in the devastation they do. But this book moves our understanding of the extreme into extraterrestrial dimensions and gives us an awe-inspiring sense of what our solar system at its utmost can do. Martian dust devils taller than Mount Everest. A hurricane that lasts over 340 years. Volcanoes with “lava” colder than Antarctica. Hail made of diamonds. Here, as the authors say, the “WOW” factor is restored to our understanding of scientific discovery, as we witness the grandeur and the weirdness that inspire researchers to dig deeper and go ever farther into the mysteries of the universe.

The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System combines a fascination with natural disasters and the mesmerizing allure of outer space to take readers on a journey that will forever change the way they view our solar system. Full of dazzling photographs from NASA’s most recent observations, this book explores extreme regions on Earth and beyond—giant turbulent storms, explosive volcanoes, and the possibility of life surviving in harsh conditions.

More than a collection of facts, the book conveys the dynamism of science as a process of exploration and discovery. As they amuse and entertain, David Baker and Todd Ratcliff, two experts in planetary science, highlight recent developments and unresolved mysteries and strive, at every turn, to answer that important scientific question: “Why?”


  • Honorable Mention, 2010 Association of American Publishers PROSE Award, Cosmology & Astronomy Category
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