Space Odyssey
A Voyage to the Planets

Author: Tim Haines and Christopher Riley
BBC Books
RRP 20.00
ISBN 0 563 52154 6
Available 14 October 2004

Imagine diving below the ice on one of Jupiter's moons to look for signs of life, getting lost in a Venusian sulphuric acid storm or trying to drill on the disintegrating surface of a comet. Space Odyssey will reveal for the first time the danger and spectacle of what it would be like for astronauts to land on and explore the other planets in the solar system...

The book of Space Odyssey: A Voyage to the Planets is designed to accompany the TV series (which is also available on DVD). This series enables viewers to witness firsthand what some of the most extraordinary sights under the Sun, as seen through the eyes of the astronauts, may look like. On their ten year voyage to fly to the outer reaches of the solar system, the astronauts rendezvous with an incoming comet - to study it before it gets too close to the Sun - and visit our neighbouring planets to carry out a series of fascinating but dangerous experiments.

This is the legendary Grand Tour brought to life: a journey packed with peril and excitement. Stunning CGs of the planet landscapes are accompanied by engaging text that has been drawn from all the latest scientific findings.

While the TV series' main thrust (no pun intended) was that we would be experiencing firsthand what it was like to travel to the planets, how could a book hope to capture the same effect. Put simply, it doesn't. Instead, it is seen more as an addition to the TV series. This book includes numerous facts and figures about our solar system. Each leg of the journey has numerous diary entries by the astronauts on what they achieved from each section of the journey - as well as their personal experiences and expectations. This manages to add a much needed personal touch - one that is usually missing in space documentaries.

The book itself is a work of art. Beautiful full colour pages attempt to capture the beauty and vastness of space and there are plenty of additional images of the crew which are exclusive to this book.

This is the perfect release for everyone who enjoyed the series, but would like a few more facts to hand.

Ray Thompson

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