• Spacefarers

  • How Humans Will Settle the Moon, Mars, and Beyond
  • By: Christopher Wanjek
  • Narrated by: Donald Corren
  • Length: 12 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (50 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A wry and compelling take on the who, how, and why of near-future colonies in space. From bone-whittling microgravity to eye-popping profits, the risks and rewards of space settlement have never been so close at hand.

More than 50 years after the Apollo 11 moon landing, why is there so little human presence in space? Will we ever reach Mars? What will it take to become a multiplanet species, colonizing the solar system and traveling to other stars?

Spacefarers meets these questions head on. While many books have speculated on the possibility of living beyond the Earth, few have delved into the practical challenges or plausible motives for leaving the safe confines of our home planet. Christopher Wanjek argues that there is little doubt we will be returning to the Moon and exploring Mars in the coming decades, given the potential scientific and commercial bonanza. 

Private industry is already taking a leading role and earning profits from human space activity. This can be, Wanjek suggests, a sustainable venture and a natural extension of earthbound science, business, and leisure. He envisions hotels in low-earth orbit and mining, tourism, and science on the Moon. He also proposes the slow, steady development of science bases on Mars, to be followed by settlements if Martian gravity will permit reproduction and healthy child development.

An appetite for wonder will take us far, but if we really want to settle new worlds, we’ll need the earnest plans of engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Wanjek introduces us to those planners, who are striving right now to make life in space a reality. 

©2020 President and Fellows of Harvard College (P)2020 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about Spacefarers

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An inspiring look into our future in space

I really enjoyed this listen, as it had a little something to cover all the bases: humor and wonder in abundance, science and speculation in just the right balance, and a great performance by the narrator...as someone obsessed with space futurism, this had me hanging on every word

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Motivations, challenges, and paths towards space

This is a decent book on one of my favorite topics. It runs through the reasons for, challenges with, and paths towards going into space beyond this one rock we call home.

The author presents his informed, balanced views in a relatable way. I feel like it could have gone into more detail on some of the science stuff, like off-earth ecosystems and health under differnet gravity. He actually put a lot of effort into these. He sticks closely to what's been experimentally proven. But these are big topics and I'm hungry for more, including the speculative and theoretical. He does go into the most depth on the economic questions.

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enjoyable listen for amateur futurists.

not so heady you can't follow it. not so dumbed down you don't learn anything.

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Just a pipe dream

I was excited about the possibility of humans going to Mars until I read this book. It makes it seem like an impossibly with our current state of technology, politics, and money. Oh well, back to the realm of dreams.

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  • Alex88
  • 11-15-21

Balancing dreams with reality

Thoroughly enjoyed the book, it answered a lot of my questions such as “but why can’t just build a base on the Moon, surely can’t be that difficult” – well, this explains the reasons why it’s difficult but not impossible and how we could go about settling on the Moon and other planets and objects in our solar system. The book explores the impact on the human body, the science of travel and settlement as well as the high level economics of space exploration and the benefits it could bring. The narration is superb with Donald Corren conveying a perfect mix of enthusiasm and scepticism

2 people found this helpful

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  • Craig
  • 07-11-22

Fascinating and insightful.

A great tale, giving the true facts about expanding the human race into our local Solar System. One thing stands out, its not going to happen in our lifetime or the next! The cost alone for the gains isn't worth it at all. We need to sort out this planet before we tramp over others. Still, someone needs to pave the way, wether NASA, ESA, China, Russia or private enterprises, we do need to explore. Great book giving us home truths.

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  • John Rostron
  • 05-27-22

Excellent

Excellent thanks everyone should experience this book to broaden the mind and realise the importance of humanity to venture into space

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  • Trevsan
  • 04-12-22

Very informative

I don’t normally write a review just do the stars if you like space you will like this book it’s very informative

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  • Stuart C. Taylor
  • 02-09-22

A truly amazing book!

This may be the most interesting book I have ever read.

Meticulously detailed and well-researched it describes the many challenges of colonising the solar system and explains the potential solutions. It sets out a clearly thought out plan of how (and why) humans will one day leave the earth and start to live and work on other solar system bodies. Achievements in space travel thus far are supplemented with leading edge research to explain exactly what might be possible and roughly when. Importantly, it is not afraid to critique the less feasible ideas too. This book makes everything suddenly feel incredibly real and no longer the stuff of science fiction.

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  • RxT
  • 01-20-22

Very dry... but interesting

It's a very dry lecture sort of book on the topic of space travel from a realistic point of view (not the fantasy and dream view),... but very interesting.

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  • Osian Roberts
  • 11-21-21

A glimpse into the final frontier

I gave this book a listen as it was free on the Plus Catalogue. I was pleasantly surprised. The book was superbly written, thoroughly researched and the narration was excellent.

The book provides fascinating insights into the technical challenges that humans must overcome in order to become a multi-planetary species. I particularly enjoyed the discussion of how prolonged exposure to low-gravity environments adversely affects human health. This is an important factor that is seldom discussed when individuals like Elon Musk promote the idea of colonising Mars.

The book left me contemplating whether human space exploration is a waste of resources. For the foreseeable future, it might be cheaper and safer if we explore the universe using artificial intelligence & telescopes?

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  • Mr. D. Hickey
  • 10-17-21

Great listen

thorough, understandable for the average reader. excellent. I highly recommend this book as a great read 👍

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  • Justin
  • 10-05-21

Dry but enjoyable

Interesting if cynical speculation on the future of space travel and colonisation. Probably contains nothing that a seasoned space enthusiast wouldn't have already known about.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-29-21

Down to earth look at humans in space

There's a place for fanciful, sci-fi fueled books about humanity's future beyond our home planet. This is not that. I really like the author constantly questioning the motive for visiting or living on a given heavenly body, "sure you could do that, why would you want to?", with reference to economic factors and the emerging private sector space industry. I can't help feel that even with these solid groundings, his predictions are still best case optimism. There's no mention of setbacks caused by catastrophes that we know are an inevitable part of such dangerous endeavours. Still well worth a listen and possibly one I'll revisit in future.