The best books about space exploration, astronauts, the moon, and beyond

Who am I?

I’ve followed the history of space exploration since I was a kid! Although I spent decades photographing assignments in exotic international locations and co-authored visually driven books on astronomical phenomena, my dream was to photograph in NASA’s restricted space exploration work cultures. Never giving up, I achieved unprecedented access into the shuttle mission that saved the Hubble Space Telescope and, for more than a decade, with the New Horizons team that first explored the Pluto system. I’ve been published in media like Smithsonian, Nat Geo, WIRED, New Scientist, and NPR. Honored that my photographs of astronaut space tools are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum.   


I wrote...

Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration

By Michael Soluri,

Book cover of Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration

What is my book about?

Infinite Worlds - the People and Places of Space Exploration is a visually driven, beautifully designed, and printed coffee table book that reveals the sublime art of human and robotic space exploration. With extraordinary access over several years into the restricted, behind-the-scenes work cultures of 3 NASA Spaceflight Centers, Michael photographically documented the craft and humanity that frames the team effort behind the historic last shuttle mission that essentially saved the Hubble Space Telescope. In addition, his observations are woven between 18 insightful first-person essays by some of the NASA astronaut crew, engineers, shuttle techs, and scientists who worked on this historic mission. Mercury astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, wrote the introduction.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe

Michael Soluri Why did I love this book?

Influenced by the Apollo era, “I applied to be an astronaut four times and was rejected three times before I was accepted. So, it’s about following your dream and not giving up.” This is from the son of a New York City fireman, where work ethic, never giving up, and lots of humor frame Mike’s achievement to becoming an astronaut (and even a guest on The Big Bang Theory). I’ve known Mass since 2007 and those ingrained qualities make for an inspirational narrative. Perhaps the most poignant: trying to avoid tearing up during his first EVA spacewalk on the Hubble Space Telescope when he experienced seeing the wonder of our blue-dot, water-world Earth from space.  

By Mike Massimino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spaceman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mike Massimino's compelling memoir takes us on a brilliant journey where the nerdiest science meets the most thrilling adventure to reveal what 'the right stuff' truly is. Many children dream of becoming an astronaut when they grow up, but when NASA rejected him, he kept on trying. Even being told his poor eyesigh would mean he could never make it didn't stop him; he simply trained his eyes to be better. Finally, at the third time of asking, NASA accepted him.
So began Massimino's 18-year career as an astronaut, and the extraordinary lengths he went to to get accepted was…


Book cover of An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me about Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

Michael Soluri Why did I love this book?

“Weightlessness is like a new toy you get to unwrap every day, again and again — and it’s a great reminder, too, that you need to savor the small stuff, not just sweat it.” One of many lessons learned offered by the Canadian astronaut (yes, the one who sang a creative version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”) and flew on both the American Shuttle and Russian Soyuz. Like other next-generation astronauts influenced by the Apollo era, Chris reveals a non-jargon view about training and spaceflight with international crews. As Commander of the International Space Station during Expedition 34/35, he writes, “… don’t assume you know everything, and try to be ready for anything” is wisdom that can be related to here on Earth and up there in space.” 

By Chris Hadfield,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Back on the earth after three spaceflights, Chris Hadfield's captivating memoir An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth reveals extraordinary stories from his life as an astronaut, and shows how to make the impossible a reality. This edition contains a new afterword.

Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4,000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft, and become a YouTube…


Book cover of A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts

Michael Soluri Why did I love this book?

Between 1968 and 1972, 24 Apollo astronauts flew to the moon and 12 of them landed to first explore its surface. By the late eighties when it seemed nobody cared about the Apollo era missions, Andy had the vision, persistence, and respect for history to research, track down, and by 1994, interview each of those astronauts in their own words. Knowing Andy, it is understandable why these essentially forgotten first explorers to another celestial body, including engineers and scientists, opened up and provided remarkable unscripted accounts. It is a transcendent portrait of the Apollo era that continues to inspire the imagination. Including Tom Hanks (Apollo 13) who had used the book as an essential guide toward the production of HBO’s From the Earth to the Moon

By Andrew Chaikin,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked A Man on the Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'IMPRESSIVE AND ILLUMINATING' TOM HANKS

This is the definitive account of the heroic Apollo programme.

When astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their 'giant leap for mankind' across a ghostly lunar landscape, they were watched by some 600 million people on Earth 240,000 miles away.

Drawing on hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews with the astronauts and mission personnel, this is the story of the twentieth century's greatest human achievement, minute-by-minute, through the eyes of those who were there.

From the tragedy of the fire in Apollo 1 during a simulated launch, Apollo 8's bold pioneering flight around the…


Book cover of Full Moon

Michael Soluri Why did I love this book?

As explorers carrying cameras, the Gemini and Apollo astronauts (1965-72) were like the pioneer photographers of the 19th century who, with their cameras, responded to the unknowns of the American West. These astronauts, however, were responding to the new and unexplored by photographing their experiences inside their spacecraft and outside in the vacuum of space. During the late 90s the photographer Michael Light gained access to NASA’s Apollo-era photo archive and made the first drum-scanned digital files from perfect copies of the original flight films. Light’s artful editing and juxtaposition of superbly reproduced full-page black and white, and color images creates a cinematic-like journey to the moon and back. In the annals of published space photography, there are very few well-designed books as timeless.

By Michael Light, Andrew Chaikin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Full Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most thrilling of all journeys--the missions of the Apollo astronauts to the surface of the Moon and back--yielded 32,000 extraordinarily beautiful photographs, the record of a unique human achievement. Until recently, only a handful of these photographs had been released for publication; but now, for the first time, NASA has allowed a selection of the master negatives and transparencies to be scanned electronically, rendering the sharpest images of space that we have ever seen. Michael Light has woven 129 of these stunningly clear images into a single composite voyage, a narrative of breathtaking immediacy and authenticity that begins with…


Book cover of Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece

Michael Soluri Why did I love this book?

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, Space Odyssey is considered the most artful science fiction film about space exploration ever made. Premiered in early 1968, it instills levels of awe, wonder, and mystery. “While realism was important in 2001”, the writer-artist Michael Benson writes, “it was outranked by an ongoing quest for visual purity—for images powerful enough to elide verbal explanation and tell their own stories.” With meticulous research, interviews, and quality access to both the Kubrick archives and the files of Arthur C. Clark – the science fiction writer whose book 2001 inspired the film, Benson unveils the behind-the-scenes odyssey of creating this timeless cinematic masterpiece. I might add that my photographic approach has been influenced by the film’s visually-driven narrative as much as how Kubrick technically created it.

By Michael Benson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Space Odyssey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The definitive story of the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey, acclaimed today as one of the greatest films ever made, and of director Stanley Kubrick and writer Arthur C. Clarke-"a tremendous explication of a tremendous film....Breathtaking" (The Washington Post).

Fifty years ago a strikingly original film had its premiere. Still acclaimed as one of the most remarkable and important motion pictures ever made, 2001: A Space Odyssey depicted the first contacts between humanity and extraterrestrial intelligence. The movie was the product of a singular collaboration between Stanley Kubrick and science fiction visionary Arthur C. Clarke. Fresh off the success…


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Book cover of The Twenty: One Woman's Trek Across Corsica on the GR20 Trail

Marianne C. Bohr Author Of The Twenty: One Woman's Trek Across Corsica on the GR20 Trail

New book alert!

Who am I?

I married my high school sweetheart and travel partner, and followed my own advice to do graduate work, and started my career working for the French National Railroad in New York City, mapping itineraries for travelers to Europe. Travel means the world to me and if I don’t have a trip on the horizon, I feel aimless and untethered. I worked in book publishing for 30 years and dropped out of the corporate rat race to take a gap year abroad. I wrote about our “Senior year abroad” in my first book Gap Year Girl. I returned to the US to teach middle school French and organize student trips to France. 

Marianne's book list on by women about outdoor adventure

What is my book about?

Marianne Bohr and her husband, about to turn sixty, are restless for adventure. They decide on an extended, desolate trek across the French island of Corsica — the GR20, Europe’s toughest long-distance footpath — to challenge what it means to grow old. Part travelogue, part buddy story, part memoir, The Twenty is a journey across a rugged island of stunning beauty little known outside Europe.

From a chubby, non-athletic child, Bohr grew into a fit, athletic person with an “I’ll show them” attitude. But hiking GR20 forces her to transform a lifetime of hard-won achievements into acceptance of her body and its limitations.

The difficult journey across a remote island provides the crucible for exploring what it means to be an aging woman in a youth-focused culture, a physically fit person whose limitations are getting the best of her, and the partner of a husband who is growing old with her. More than a hiking tale, this is a moving story infused with humor about hiking, aging, accepting life’s finite journey, and the intimacy of a long-term marriage—set against the breathtaking beauty of Corsica’s rugged countryside.

By Marianne C. Bohr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Twenty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Great for fans of: Suzanne Roberts's Almost Somewhere, Juliana Buhring's This Road I Ride.


Marianne Bohr and her husband, about to turn sixty, are restless for adventure. They decide on an extended, desolate trek across the French island of Corsica-the GR20, Europe's toughest long-distance footpath-to challenge what it means to grow old. Part travelogue, part buddy story, part memoir, The Twenty is a journey across a rugged island of stunning beauty little known outside Europe.


From a chubby, non-athletic child, Bohr grew into a fit, athletic person with an "I'll show them" attitude. But hiking The Twenty forces her to…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in astronauts, the moon, and space exploration?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about astronauts, the moon, and space exploration.

Astronauts Explore 61 books about astronauts
The Moon Explore 126 books about the moon
Space Exploration Explore 21 books about space exploration