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Whether you’ll be off and away or just want to do some armchair traveling, here are some books to check out this summer.
We’ve chosen a selection of books by astronauts to give you a taste of the astronaut life and get up close and personal with several space pioneers.
Endurance: A Year in Space. A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly
Scott Kelly is an American astronaut with a twin brother who also happens to be a NASA astronaut. The central focus of his memoir is an observation mission that sent him to space for a year while his twin brother stayed on Earth. Kelly’s humanity, compassion, humor and determination make this book a refreshing read.
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
On paper, the path to becoming an astronaut seems straightforward enough: from engineer to fighter pilot to test pilot to astronaut. But for Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who became famous for recording a his own version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” in the International Space Station, that wasn’t exactly how things went. Funny and touching, his story shows us how to make the impossible a reality.
Ask an Astronaut: My Guide to Life in Space by Tim Peake
But the US hardly has a monopoly on astronaut authors. Numerous European Space Agency (ESA) astronauts have published works on many different aspects of space experiences. Tim Peake has written two fascinating books that shed light on an astronaut’s daily life. Ask an Astronaut answers the thousands of questions people have asked him since he came back to Earth from the Principia mission.
The Astronaut Selection Test Book: Do You Have What it Takes for Space? by Tim Peake
This highly entertaining book contains 100 tests of various kinds that would-be astronauts must take as they go through ESA’s selection process. From logic and math to foreign languages, there’s a lot to keep you busy during your summer holiday!
Terre by Thomas Pesquet
No need to know French to enjoy this beautiful book with over 300 pages of photos that Pesquet took of our planet from space. The author spent 196 days – about six months – aboard the International Space Station (ISS) for the Proxima mission and spent his free time immortalizing the Earth from every possible angle. Change of scenery guaranteed! (Available in French only).
Diary of an Apprentice Astronaut by Samantha Cristoforetti
In space, everyday things like eating, sleeping, brushing your teeth, and cutting your hair all need to be relearned. This book is the story of the Italian astronaut’s incredible journey and how she got the dream job.
Volare: Lo spazio e altre sfide by Luca Parmitano
The first Italian to perform extravehicular space activities, Luca Parmitano has completed countless missions not only among the stars but also deep down inside the Earth and twenty thousand leagues under the sea. His book takes us on a journey to space from which we will return with a new perspective on our world. (Available in Italian only).
Alexander Gerst: Biografie by Felix Westermühl
Ever since childhood, Alexander Gerst has been mesmerized by space. He was the first German commander of the ISS and (as far as he knows!) the first person to eat cheese spätzle in space. This biography introduces us to Gerst the adventurer who also made a round-the-world trip, explored volcanoes and camped in Antarctica. It might just inspire you to reach for your own dreams! (Available in German only)
Dans la combi de Thomas Pesquet by Marion Montaigne
We also recommend this comic, the hilarious story of French astronaut Thomas Pesquet’s adventures in the sky, from his selection to his first trip to the International Space Station. (Available in French only).