Big Rocks from Space

by guest blogger Ken

Anyone who has ever taken a stroll through the Lunar Library quickly realizes that it is about more than just the Moon, it’s about the High Frontier, with the Moon being just the most dominant aspect of our near-Earth near-future efforts.

One section is called Big Rocks from Space and is about asteroids and comets. Well, now I can pack it all up and take it to Half-Price Books, because Astronomy magazine has just published an absolutely outstanding August issue, a Special Meteorite Issue called “Rocks from space!”

The cover features a bird’s eye view of a meteorite shattering above Chicago in March 2003. Inside it covers these rocks from space from every angle imaginable. There are nicely rendered graphics showing, for example, classic rock falls from around the world, with sample pictures linked to their impact sites. Meteor Crater in Arizona is given a thorough going over, and I especially liked the image of the top layer of strata folded back upon itself as an effect of the impact. In “Name that rock”, tables lay out how meteorites are categorized for easy reference. Some of the cross-section images seem almost like stained-glass in a cathedral window.

My only disappointment is that more attention wasn’t given to asteroids as a source of useful materials in space, and what sort of useful things could be made by examples of the different meteorites we’ve found.

Everyone needs to make sure that their local schools have copies of this particular issue. Astronomy magazine gets extra kudos from me for publishing such an incredibly informative work. They definitely went the extra mile on this one. Go out and buy a copy now.

I wonder how I can swing a couple thousand copies for next year’s conference…

P.S. You can also register to win a meteorite, but since I’ve already cast the winning entry you don’t really need to worry about it. 😉

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