Celebrity scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson remembers the exact moment when it dawned on him that, as an astrophysicist, he also was a contributor to the American war machine. It was April, 2003, and Tyson was attending the National Space Symposium – an event he associated, primarily, with scientific inquiry. Thus, when CNN images of bombs blowing up in Baghdad appeared within the conference hall, Tyson was shocked to see defense contractors hooting with joy – particularly when TV announcers cited their employers’ technology by name. The experience left Tyson considering a commitment to full-scale pacifism. But rather than check out, he chose to stay engaged. If indeed the same high-powered technologies and scientific discoveries that drove his field were also being used to wage war, what might the future hold? In this hefty tome, Tyson offers an engaging exploration of the past, present and potential future of space-based war. Though he is not entirely pessimistic, Tyson frets about the destructive power of the space weapons being designed in the United States, China and Russia. Too, he worries that the investment in space is skewed toward destruction rather than discovery.
About the Authors
Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History and host of the radio and TV shows StarTalk. A best-selling author, he lives in New York City. Avis Lang is a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History.