Dig science? Like space? Admire clean graphic design? Enjoy pithy infographics that nutshellize complex concepts? Well, do we have the book for you! COSMOS: The Infographic Book of Space, written by UK-based authors Stuart Lowe and Chris North, distills a big chunk of historical and current information about what we know of the cosmos into a handy-dandy portable ink-and-pulp-based package. Want to know the relative orbits of some of the known objects that hang out in the Kuiper Belt? Curious about how scientists measure distances in the vastness of space? Wondering how China’s just completed FAST telescope matches up in size to SETI’s setup in Arecibo? Or maybe you just want to win at trivia over which country has produced the most space junk.
Lowe and North’s work rivals the best examples from Edward Tufte’s incomparable trilogy on statistical graphics (start with The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, ignore its overly-dry title and marvel at the clarity and inventiveness that charts and graphs can convey if done right). If nothing else, take a look at page 11, which details over time the distances living creatures from Earth (including us bipeds) have been sent, including the adorable Félicette, first felinonaut on a 1963 French mission, who returned safely and whose photo can be seen on her Wikipedia page!