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How Humans Will Settle the Moon, Mars, and Beyond

Christopher Wanjek

ISBN 9780674983410

Publication date: 04/14/2020

A Telegraph Best Science Book of the Year

“A witty yet in-depth exploration of the prospects for human habitation beyond Earth…Spacefarers is accessible, authoritative, and in the end, inspiring.”
—Richard Panek, author of The Trouble with Gravity

It’s been over fifty years since Apollo 11 landed on the moon. So why is there so little human presence in space? Will we ever reach Mars? And what will it take to become a multiplanet species? While many books have speculated on the possibility of living beyond the Earth, few have delved into the practical challenges.

A wry and compelling take on the who, how, and why of near-future colonies in space, Spacefarers introduces us to the engineers, scientists, planners, dreamers, and entrepreneurs who are striving right now to make life in space a reality. While private companies such as SpaceX are taking the lead and earning profits from human space activity, Christopher Wanjek is convinced this is only the beginning. From bone-whittling microgravity to eye-popping profits, the risks and rewards of space settlement have never been so close at hand. He predicts we will have hotels in low-earth orbit, mining and tourism on the Moon, and science bases on Mars—possibly followed (gravity permitting) by full blown settlements.

“Nerdily engaging (and often funny)…Technology and science fiction enthusiasts will find much here to delight them, as Wanjek goes into rich detail on rocketry and propulsion methods, including skyhooks and railguns to fling things into orbit…He is a sensible skeptic, yet also convinced that, in the long run, our destiny is among the stars.”
The Guardian

“If the events of this year have had you daydreaming about abandoning the planet entirely, [Spacefarers] is a geekily pleasurable survey of the practicalities and challenges.”
The Telegraph

“The best book I’ve read on space exploration since Isaac Asimov.”
—Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic


  • Christopher Wanjek is the author of Bad Medicine and Food at Work. He has written more than 500 articles for the Washington Post, Sky & Telescope, Astronomy, Mercury, and Live Science. From 1998 to 2006, he was a senior writer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, covering the structure and evolution of the universe.

Book Details

  • Harvard University Press