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Inside Outer Space
Astronaut Don Thomas Gave This Book a Ride on the Shuttle

The Washington Post
Wednesday, August 20, 2008

CARRYING THE FIRE

By Michael Collins

For age 11 and older

You probably know that Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon. While Armstrong was taking his "one small step" (along with fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin), a third astronaut, Michael Collins, was flying the Apollo 11 capsule that Armstrong and Aldrin would return to.

In this autobiography, Collins writes about his life as an astronaut, including this amazing description of what it was like to be circling the moon while his friends walked on it: "I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life. . . . Outside my window I can see stars -- and that is all. Where I know the moon to be, there is simply a black void, the moon's presence is defined solely by the absence of stars."

Ever looked at pictures of the moon and thought how bumpy its surface is? Up close, Collins writes, the moon looks "as smooth as a billiard ball."

This book features beautiful writing, honest memories and some very funny astronaut stories. At 544 pages, it's long, but we bet many readers won't be able to put down this real-life adventure story.

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