Over the centuries, humans have gone from merely spotting cryptic celestial bodies to studying the details of deep-space objects and alien planets, and investigating mysterious dark matter and supermassive black holes. Learning everything there is to know about space is a daunting, and probably impossible, task. But a fun new book titled "Facts From Space!" makes learning about the universe easy and accessible.
Dean Regas, an astronomer and public outreach educator at the Cincinnati Observatory, wrote "Facts From Space!" to make astronomy and space science approachable and catchy, he said in an interview with Space.com. Every page features a handful of short facts and cartoonish illustrations that make learning about the universe a truly enjoyable — and occasionally, sidesplitting — experience.
The book is meant to be a nice and easy read for people of all ages regardless of their prior astronomy education or experience — though one blurb about whether astronauts have ever tried having sex in space might be deemed inappropriate for younger readers. Other than that one fact, the rest of the book seems entirely G-rated. It's filled with entertaining bits that any space lover can appreciate.
Even the most seasoned space enthusiasts will find that this book contains information they never knew they needed to know. For instance, did you know that Saturn would float in a bathtub? Of course, you'd need a ridiculously huge tub to test this claim. "And, of course, it would probably leave a ring," Regas joked.
Plus, "Facts From Space!" contains several facts that kids usually don't learn in school. These "bloopers," as Regas calls them, include comical stories about astronauts in space. For example, early human missions to Earth's orbit used to eject human waste into space, leaving behind intricate formations of frozen astronaut pee floating around in space. And one Russian cosmonaut smuggled chocolates to the International Space Station. When he ripped open the box in zero gravity, pieces of chocolate flew everywhere. It took him 2 hours to collect (or eat) all of the pieces.
"Facts From Space!" is a book that you can pick up and flip to any page to learn fascinating, weird and even hilarious facts about space. It's divided into chapters that start out exploring things closer to Earth before taking the reader out into deep space. But there's really no need to read it in any particular order.
As Regas put it, "You can start anywhere and stop anywhere, and you get to these little bite-sized nuggets of information about the universe." Each fact in the book is no more than a few sentences long and can easily stand alone without the context of the rest of the chapter in which it resides. Hardly any attention span is required to enjoy the book. Anyone who otherwise struggles with focusing while reading books will find that reading "Facts From Space!" is an easy, breezy and enjoyable reading experience.
The unique and accessible format and tone of "Facts From Space!" sets it apart from other books that have attempted the all-encompassing approach at writing about the universe. "One of the goals of the book is to take you to these places and let you view the stars and view things like you're there," Regas said. "That's why I went beyond the normal facts, like 'This is how big Mars is' … and instead went with [facts about] what it would be like to actually be there."
"Facts From Space!" went on sale in October. You can buy the book online at Amazon.com.