"The Spacecraft That Will Not Die" - American Heritage of Invention & Technology, Winter 2001
Pioneer 10 was launched in March 1972 to become the first spacecraft to travel beyond Mars, pass through the asteroid belt, and explore Jupiter. It accomplished all those goals and much more, but its most extraordinary achievement may be the one that even its creators never expected: staying in touch with Earth for over thirty years after launch. Click the image at right for the incredible tale of humanity's first emissary to the stars.
"Winged Atom" - American History, February 2003
Believe it or not, once upon a time some people thought it was a really good idea to fly a nuclear reactor around in an airplane. Of course, there was the slight problem of what might happen if the plane crashed... Click to learn the full story.
"The Tube is Dead - Long Live the Tube"- American Heritage of Invention & Technology, Fall 2002
Vacuum tubes are a century-old technology. Most people think they've been made completely obsolete by solid-state and digital electronics, but despite silicon chips and microelectronics, tubes refuse to go away. Click on the magazine cover to find out why.
"The Airplane That Flew into Space" - American Heritage of Invention & Technology, Summer 2001
The X-15 was America's first manned spacecraft, a magnificent machine that flew higher and faster than humans had ever gone before. It paved the way for the Apollo program and the Space Shuttle, flown by some of the greatest pilots of all time -- including Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. Click the cover for the story.
Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe
by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee
Is the Universe really teeming with life as some would have us believe, or are complex living organisms such as those found on Earth much rarer--and more precious--than we realize? Ward and Brownlee explore the question and come up with some sobering conclusions.
Flight: My Life in Mission Control
by Chris Kraft
Chris Kraft is the original steely-eyed missile man, the individual who invented Mission Control and became the prototype for all the flight directors who followed. His perspective on America's manned space program is unique and fascinating.
Unlocking the Sky: Glenn Hammond Curtiss and the Race to Invent the Airplane
by Seth Shulman
December 2003 marks the centennial of the Wright Brothers' first flight and the birth of the airplane. But the Wrights were far from alone in the quest to achieve powered flight. Shulman tells the story of Glenn Curtiss, the talented and irrepressible rival the Wrights tried to shut down.
(This review is quoted on the cover of the just-released paperback edition.)
While on a science history fellowship at NASA Ames Research Center in 1999, I contributed research to the 60th anniversary history of Ames, Atmosphere of Freedom: Sixty Years at the NASA Ames Research Center by Dr. Glenn E. Bugos.
As part of its 60th anniversary celebration, Ames instituted the Ames Hall of Fame to honor important individuals in Ames history. I researched and wrote the biographies of the first twelve inductees.