Book Review

Book Review: The Martian

Book Review
The Martian

"Andy Weir manages to make a very credible proposal that survival on Mars is not just feasible but practical with a little additional planning and materials"

- Azeem Khan

In the last couple of decades, even before PathFinder left Earth, the next frontier in conquering space has been to visit another planet. Since Venus is a planet completely hostile to any life, Mars has been the logical choice. As we have remarked before elsewhere, even on Earth, human beings live in a very small habitable zone. We simply die without advanced technology if we step out of that crucible. Consequently, a number of missions, mostly satellite probes have been launched to study Mars. Then of course there were the Mars rovers Pathfinder, Spirit, Opportunity (and hopefully Mangalyaan in the future) that actually landed on Mars. This has been necessary to understand what to expect if human beings ever landed there.


Book Review: India's Rise as a Space Power

Book Review: India's Rise As a Space Power
"INDIA: A Bullock Cart No More"
Prof. U R Rao
(He is one of the pillars of Indian space program)



The book India's Rise as a Space Power is the chronicle of India towards that elite area of technology that most  nations in the world including most of the G-20 do not have even a toehold in. The narration is by a man who has had a ring side seat to the incredible journey that propelled India into that group of 3%. Indeed, U. R. Rao was a ring-master himself for a brief period which happened to be some of the most tumultuous ones from the Indian political perspective. Nevertheless, his starring role and his work under the stewardship of the doyen of the Indian space programme, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, provides for some compelling stories in a time when India was new and bold and was striding forward towards its tryst with destiny.

Detailed Book Review - The Rocket Company

Book Review:
"The Rocket Company"
Patrick Stiennon (Author), David Hoerr (Author), Peter Diamandis (Foreword), Doug Birkholz (Illustrator)

--  Azeem J. Khan

What does it take to go into space? All through human civilization, there  was been the wonder when looking at celestial objects. Poets have spoken of reaching out and touching the stars, of bringing the moon down to earth, of plucking these celestial objects from the sky, of gods and goddesses and human souls becoming these celestial objects. Even the pharaohs spoke of building a pyramid that would ascend into the sky. However, it was not until the 20th century that going into space was considered practical.


The Rocket Company is a fictional account of a company that makes reaching out to space a humdrum affair for the current generation of human beings by building a cheap spacecraft. A dream that is slowly but surely being realized by more people as a number of efforts to expand beyond Earth have gathered steam in recent years. One could argue that it is books like The Rocket Company that has fueled these dreams. The book covers the adventures of a company with the benign name of AM&M (American Mining and Manufacturing). As becomes abundantly clear right from the second chapter of the book, launching a space vehicle is a daunting endeavour. However, a very surprising insight into the construction of reusable space launch vehicles is that the business aspect requires tremendous amount of cleverness. And that is partly responsible for this mundane name for a space company.

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