Space and astronauts have long captivated the imaginations of many—including myself. The men and women who risk their lives in the name of science have been a perennial source of interest, and to read biographies and autobiographies recounting their ascent to the heavens (or assist from the ground—looking at you, Gene Kranz) puts into focus their dedication and sacrifice. After you’ve watched Ryan Gosling shoot for the moon in First Man, open any one of these books and continue that sense of exploration.
This memoir of a veteran NASA flight director tells riveting stories from the early days of the Mercury program through Apollo 11 (the moon landing) and Apollo 13, for both of which Kranz was flight director.
Sally Ride made history as the first American woman in space, breaking through a quarter century of white male fighter jocks when NASA chose her for the seventh shuttle mission. Written by the ABC reporter who covered NASA during its transformation from a test-pilot boys’ club to a more inclusive elite, Sally Ride is the definitive biography of the bold and talented woman who cracked the celestial ceiling and inspired several generations of women.
Read the full review of PACKING FOR MARS.
For space geeks
Take an entertaining trip into the science of life in space. The brilliant and hilarious science writer Mary Roach paints an intricate portrait of how things actually work when human beings go into space, from the mundane—attending to basic human needs such as air and water—to the luxuries of beer and privacy.