Form a small team comprised of children and adults, design a robot, solve the challenge, and be part of the Google Lunar X PRIZE race to the Moon with LEGO® MINDSTORMS®
Lunar Bibliography and Resource Guide
Movies and Documentaries | Lunar Fiction | Internet Resources
By Gregg Maryniak, Director, J.S. McDonnell Planetarium
St. Louis Science Center
If you'd like to learn more about the Moon, the history and future of lunar exploration and how the Moon can save the Earth, here are some of our absolute favorite resources:
Movies and Documentaries
Apollo 13 Universal Studios
Ron Howard's excellent film reminded everyone about the real drama and risk of spaceflight and the enormous contributions of the ground teams in the program. Personally, I think no other work captures the adventure and spirit of America's first space program as well as this film.
Rocket Science, Apogee Publishing, 2004.
This excellent 3 DVD video documentary provides an overview of the entire Moon Race from Sputnik to Apollo. Although many documentaries take advantage of NASA public footage, this series is beautifully written, nicely narrated and highly recommended.
From the Earth to the Moon HBO - Time Warner Entertainment, 1998
Robert A. Heinlein was truly the dean of Science Fiction. But his stories and characters are so well written that you might not notice how much real science you have learned while enjoying his books. There are thousands of fine books and stories featuring the Moon, so I'll only list my absolute favorite adult and young person's lunar fiction books and one short story by Heinlein.
In the adult category is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. 1966, This award-winning novel tells the story of the Lunar Revolution, when the inhabitants of the Moon, throw off the yoke of terrestrial government. One of my favorite characters in the book is MIKE, the Lunar Authority's master computer, which "wakes up" and becomes an ally of the revolutionaries.
Heinlein also wrote a number of excellent books aimed at teens. One of the best of these is Have Space Suit - Will Travel. The main character of this novel is a high school senior who hopes to win a space tourism trip to a lunar base in a national contest. When he instead wins an old space suit as a fifth prize, he decides to make it operational. However, while testing the suit in his Midwestern town his transmissions on the space operations frequencies lead to a wild and unforgettable adventure on the Moon and far beyond.
Note to teachers:
An exceptional multidisciplinary teachers guide has been created for use with this book and can be found at:
A Lunar Short Story:
My favorite Heinlein short story about the moon was entitled The Menace from Earth (sometimes found in a book collection of his short stories by the same name.) The lunar sport of low-gravity flying is the backdrop for this tale of teenage romance.
Other books for young readers and their teachers and parents:
Aldrin, Buzz, Reaching for the Moon,Harper Collins, 2005. Apollo 11 Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin has written a best-selling children's book about his life. It's beautifully illustrated by Wendell Minor and gives some real insight into the personality of the astronaut known to his peers as Dr. Orbit.
Schorer, Lonnie Kids to Space, Apogee, 2005. This author, a colleague of Buzz Aldrin, assembled astronauts and many other space experts to answer children's questions about space. The questions and answers are fascinating and it was interesting to see that the largest area of interest by young people was about the Moon. By the way, I strongly recommend this book for anyone-not just for students and teachers.
Thimmesh, Catherine,Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon, Houghton Mifflin 2006. It's easy for people to forget the tremendous effort by many thousands of individuals who contributed to make the Apollo program possible. This book provides a first rate overview of the program with great photos and an outstanding list of resources.
Hudson-Goff, Elizabeth & Anderson, Dale, The First Moon Landing, World Almanac Library, 2006. A comic book format look at the history of the Apollo program. Now that the events of Apollo are many decades in the past having historical reviews for young people is very useful. Although this book takes some artistic license it is a good resource for teens and younger readers.
For the very young:
Asch, Frank, Moon Cake , Aladdin 1983. This delightful book tells the story of a bear who wants to travel to the moon to see if it is as delicious as it looks.
McNulty, Faith, If You Decide to Go to the Moon, Scholastic Press, 2007. Will beautiful illustrations by well-known artist Steven Kellogg, this book shows the contrast between the green Earth and the lifeless Moon.
O'Neill, Gerard K., The High Frontier, Human Colonies in Space. William Morrow & Company, 1977.
This prize-winning book literally changed the course of my life (You have been warned!) O'Neill's compelling vision of using the resources of space to sustain our civilization has become widely accepted and is the foundation of the present US plans to establish a human base on the Moon. The only flaw that the reader should be aware of is that the timescale depicted by the author assumed that the Space Shuttle would lead to launch costs of around $100 per pound. Such costs are within the laws of physics and economics but require much higher launch rates (much more Earth to space traffic) than the dozen or two dozen satellites now launched each year. It remains to be seen whether the demand for such new markets as space tourism or space solar power for Earth will bring us to the ignition point for what O'Neill called "the Human Breakout into space."
Mackenzie, Dana, The Big Splat, Or How Our Moon Came to Be, John Wiley & Sons, 2003.
Was the Moon formed when the Earth collided with a lost Planet? Was Darwin's theory that the Moon spun off from a molten Earth correct? If you have ever wondered how the Moon was formed, this is the book for you.
Burrows, William, The Survival Imperative, Using Space to Protect Earth, Tom Doherty Associates, 2006.
During the Apollo era, any American kid could summarize the rationale of the US Space Program in four words: "To beat the Russians!" For some time, we have suggested that a good four word rationale for modern space activities would be: "To save the Earth." Burrows agrees and makes strong arguments for a similar position in this book.
History of lunar exploration:
Again, there are many truly outstanding books available in your library and bookstore but here my personal favorites:
Collins, Michael, Carrying the Fire, Cooper Square Press, 1974. Mike Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neill Armstrong made up the crew of Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing expedition. Collins book is the best first-person account of that expedition. This work also provides the reader with what it was like to be an astronaut during the 1960's. In many ways this book reminded me of Lindbergh's Pullitzer Prize winning Spirit of St. Louis in the way that it captures the feel of the astronaut program as Spirit captured aviation in the 1920's. So it is fitting that Carrying the Fire also contains a forward by Charles A. Lindbergh, one of the few people who could truly appreciate Collins' solo flight over the far side of the Moon.
Hansen, James R., First Man, Simon & Schuster, 2005. This extensive authorized biography of Neil Armstrong is a treasure for people interested in gaining insight into the life and personality of the first person to set foot on another world. Having had the privilege of meeting and talking with Armstrong over the years and briefly working with him in lectures and a government commission I believe that this book truly captures the life of the ultimate test pilot and one of the most historic figures of modern times. Read the gripping speech prepared for the President in the event that Armstrong and Aldrin were trapped on the lunar surface.
Cernan, Gene and Davis, Don, Last Man on the Moon, St. Martin's Griffen, 1999. Cernan, and Davis tell Cernan's story with a surprising amount of personal candor. For example we learn firsthand of the enormous peril that Cernan faced during his near-disastrous Gemini spacewalk as well as his helicopter crash that could have blocked him from commanding the last Apollo mission to the lunar surface.
Conrad, Nancy and Klausner, Howard, Rocket Man, New American Library, 2005. is the biography of Pete Conrad, one of the most colorful characters in the history of human spaceflight. Conrad in Apollo 12 made the first precision landing on the Moon, only a few hundred feet away from a robot Surveyor spacecraft. He also became the first lunar flight instructor when he let his friend Alan Bean fly the Lunar Module on their return from the Moon's surface.
Godwin, Robert, Apollo 11 Pocket Space Guide, Apogee. This little paperback book is an excellent resource on the first manned lunar landing mission. It contains an excellent short history as well as many photographs and drawings that concisely summarize one of the most famous flights in human history.
Moon watching and Lunar Photography:
Lacroux, Jean and Legrand, Christian, Discover The Moon, Cambridge University Press, 2003. A terrific guide to looking at the boon with a telescope or binoculars. The book even compensates for the image inversion typical of astronomical telescopes with special maps.
Although you can download photographs from NASA web sites, its also fun to hold a good book of these in your hand. These books have great photos:
Light, Michael, Full Moon, Knopf, 2002. My favorite collection of photos from the Apollo program.
Pyle, Rod, Destination Moon, Harper Collins, 2005. Another excellent collection of photos plus commentary from the astronauts who flew the missions.
Eric Jones' Apollo Lunar Surface Journal
For many years Los Alamos mathematician Eric Jones interviewed Apollo astronauts and collected their commentaries on visiting the Moon. He added these to transcripts of the Moon to Earth radio conversations. This material forms the core of this unique web site now hosted by NASA. You can also download the entire press kits from each of the Apollo missions in the form of PDF documents at this site:
Course Notes, University of Wisconsin on Using Lunar and Space Resources Astronaut Geologist (and former US Senator) Harrison Schmitt has long been a proponent of using the rare isotope Helium 3 (found embedded in lunar soil) as a future energy source. He and has colleagues have created college courses on the broader subject of lunar resources and have made them available to the public at this site:
Lunar Explorer by Virtue Arts
Wouldn't it be fun if you could explore the moon from your home computer? You can do precisely that using the same software that is enjoyed by visitors to the McDonnell Planetarium. Find lost Soviet lunar rovers, explore the Apollo landing sites or the Moon's poles, walk through lunar canyons and much more.
Dasch, E. Julius, editor, Oxford Dictionary of Space Exploration, a great desk reference for anyone interested in space science and space exploration.
Lawrence, Richard R., editor, The Mammoth Book of Space Exploration and Disasters, I confess that I was a bit put off by the name of this 494 page paperback. But it turned out to be a first-rate resource with excellent first-hand accounts of such flights as Alan Shepard's suborbital Mercury Mission, John Glenn's orbital flight, the Apollo missions and Russian and America close calls in space.
Copyright 2007, Gregg E. Maryniak, All rights reserved.
Permission to reprint this bibliography is hereby granted provided that this document is reproduced in full.