Did you know that the Sochi Winter Olympic Torch was sent to the International Space Station as part of the lead up to the 2014 winter games in Russia? While it is not the first Olympic Torch to be sent into space, it will be the first taken on a spacewalk. If you think about it, that is a pretty big accomplishment given that has only been about 50 years since the first manned spaceflight. Here are a few books you might enjoy if you’d like to learn more about how we got to space in the first place, what we are doing there now, and where the future may take us.

https://catalog.grpl.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/small/0553381350The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe chronicles the space race. Wolfe begins with the experimental flights that predated the Mercury program before delving into early American space flight.

https://catalog.grpl.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/9781455503254The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel tells the same story as Tom Wolfe, but through the eyes of the women married to the early astronauts.

https://catalog.grpl.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/small/9780875804477The Cosmonaut who Couldn’t Stop Smiling by Andrew Leslie Jenks is a biography of Yuri Gagarin, the first man to leave earth behind, and recounts the space race from the Soviet side.

https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347311290l/612456.jpgCarrying the Fire : an Astronaut’s Journey by Michael Collins is by the man who stayed in the capsule during the first moon landing. It is a well-written, funny, accessible look back at his life.

https://catalog.grpl.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/0743276825Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut by Mike Mullane. The story of a man who watched the early astronauts as a child, then followed in their footsteps.

https://catalog.grpl.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/9781426210174Mission to Mars by Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin Jr., Leonard David. The second man on the moon outlines his ideas on the future of space flight including how, why and when we should travel to Mars.

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