Astronomy & Cosmology

Dole, Stephen H. | Habitable Planets for Man

  • First edition, first printing of this “extraordinarily detailed and prescient scientific study of the nature of worlds that might support life in the universe”, for many years the standard authority on the subject (Scharf, “The Habitable Planets”, Life, Unbounded blog, Scientific American, September 13, 2011). Copies of the first edition are rare on the market, particularly in the dust jacket.

    Between 1959 and 1968 Dole was head of the Human Engineering Group at the Rand Corporation, where he “carried out studies on the physical and physiological requirements of human beings in the spacecraft environment, the use of inorganic reactions for recovery of oxygen in life-support systems and assessments of the radiation environment in space. He also directed a number of studies sponsored by NASA, including reports on contingency planning for spaceflight emergencies. Dole also contributed to the NASA Life Sciences Date Book and the Bioastronautics Data Book and was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science” (LA Times obituary).

    Habitable Planets for Man explores the “intrinsic properties of planets, which are mass, rate of rotation, and age; and positional properties, which are distance from the primary star, orbital eccentricity, inclination of equator, satellite relationships, and properties of the primary star” and he also discusses ways of estimating and determining the number of potentially habitable worlds. “In the final chapters, Star Hopping, An Appreciation of the Earth, and Human Destiny, the author outlines those classes of data required for unequivocal knowledge that a habitable planet exists elsewhere. He discusses the characteristics of such planets and speculates on the alterations men may experience in these new environments... The closing chapter is a treatment of the little likelihood of utilizing space colonization as a solution to terrestrial population problems” (Tyson, review of Habitable Planets for Man in The Quarterly Review of Biology, vol. 40, no. 2, June 1965).

  • New York: Blaisdell Publishing Company, 1964.

    Octavo. Original blue cloth, title to spine in gilt on black ground. With the dust jacket. Charts and graphs within the text. A little light spotting to cloth and top edge of the text block, slight mildew smell. A very good copy in the rubbed and lightly spotted jacket.