Destination space

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    ⃛The Heavens and the Earth

    Johns Hopkins University Press, $19.95, £15.95

    This parody of the space race appeared in the Washington Post in 1961, and is reproduced in ⃛The Heavens and the Earth, Walter A. McDougall's magisterial political history of the US, European and Soviet space programmes, now reissued in paperback (Johns Hopkins University Press, $19.95, £15.95). Some ten years on, the author reflects that he should have been gloomier, and that from today's vantage point the space age may well be defined as an era of hubris. To restart it, he says, we must “discover some new principle that makes spaceflight genuinely cheap, safe and routine⃛ however it is achieved, a replacement for the old-fashioned rocket is needed to restore the political will and public support for a second era of ‘swashbuckling’ in space.”

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