The Christian Science Monitor

'The Smithsonian History of Space Exploration' is an ideal gift book

Roger Launius, former chief historian of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), opens his magnificently illustrated new book, The Smithsonian History of Space Exploration, with an image that’s at once graceful and haunting: it’s an orrery.

The concept and even the word is unfamiliar today, largely thanks to the progress charted in Launius’ book; orreries were precise and often elaborate working models of Earth’s solar system, designed to show the movement

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