Book Review: Living Among Giants – Exploring and Settling the Outer Solar System

March 6th, 2015

Book Review: Living Among Giants – Exploring and Settling the Outer Solar System by Michael Carroll; Book Publisher: Springer; $34.99 (Hardcover); 2015.

Here is a fascinating and unique look at the outer Solar System, masterfully detailed in words and artwork regarding planned and imagined future human exploration and possible colonization.

Carroll is a prominent prize-winning space artist with a flair for writing and swinging a paintbrush. This book includes numerous illustrations, among them original paintings by the author.

Right from the start, Carroll asks a picture-captioned question: “Mars is the next logical site for human habitation. But what other sites offer promise?”

Future space travelers to the realm of the gas and ice giants “will be confronted by glorious, spectacular views beyond anything experienced thus far,” the author explains. And thanks to his talented artistry, Living Among Giants has a dozen or so original paintings that Carroll produced specially for the book.

Divided into three parts – The Backdrop; Destinations; and A New Frontier – the book is an enthralling read that includes healthy sections on the early robotic intruders that crossed the great divide of space, such as the Pioneers, the Voyagers, Galileo and the Cassini spacecraft.

But the added thrill here is contemplating, after decades of robotic exploration, planting humans on Enceladus, frolicking in a cruise ship off the “coast” of Titan, and having face time with Ariel, Miranda and Triton – moons of Uranus and Neptune. This book is compelling and provocative, pointing out that landscapes of unprecedented scale and splendor await up-close eye contact.

The book includes a nicely compact section on propulsion – the ability of just getting there, be it via chemical rockets, ion drives, plasma rockets, solar sails or other modes of travel to cut across the distances involved.

There is a wilderness of worlds out there, Carroll concludes, ready to inform our culture, society, arts, and our perspectives. “They can do no less than enrich our lives, and they will continue to do so – even more deeply – as we venture out to live among the giants,” he concludes.

For more information on this book, go to:

By Leonard David


2 Responses

  1. Pat Rawlings says:

    Mike Carroll’s unique combination of artistic talent, writing ability, and scientific knowledge make him the perfect ambassador to this part of our planetary neighborhood. I can’t wait to get this!

  2. Dominic Pangborn says:

    I’m very new into the astronomical art and am learning so much.
    Thank you.