NONFICTION

Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact

96p. (National Geographic Kids). glossary. illus. index. photos. National Geographic. Apr. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781426328671.
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Gr 4–7—An engaging overview of the similarities and differences in the scientific fields that explore outer space and the deep sea. Swanson directly addresses readers, telling them what will be expected in their future careers as an astronaut, aquanaut, or in a position where the two overlap. Forewords by Sullivan (astronaut) and Fabien Cousteau (aquanaut) on a diagonally divided spread set up how the book will try (and not always succeed) to give both subjects equal weight. Five chapters cover the extreme environments, training programs, living conditions, the purpose of exploration, and what has been learned so far. Sidebars containing first-person narratives from experienced scientists add authenticity to this title that lacks a bibliography. They range from describing their experiences living in Aquarius, the underwater research laboratory, to describing how it feels to come back to earth after 115 days in space. Unfortunately, references in the present tense to the now out-of-commission Cassini-Huygens probe make this new work feel dated, and the early emphasis on the physical training required may be discouraging to readers of varying ability levels.
VERDICT A supplemental STEM purchase.

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