Elon Musk: The Inventors and Space Exploration February 13, 2018 – Posted in: Book News

Last week our attention turned skyward as the world’s most powerful new space rocket blasted into the heavens above Florida’s east coast.

The launch marked an historic day in the history of space exploration,  with NASA saying the success of the Falcon Heavy paves the way for open access to space beyond Earth!  But this is just the start of what could prove to be an epic year for the company behind the rocket, SpaceX and CEO Elon Musk, who has grand ambitions for far-reaching space travel.

Elon Musk gave amazed onlookers something else to talk about as well, as four minutes into the flight the nose cone of the rocket broke apart to reveal a cherry-red electric sports car, which was launched into space with the top down and a dummy astronaut in the driving position.  A livestream from the car showed amazing, surreal views of the car and its sole passer floating peacefully above the Earth, and gave us some insight into the personality of the guy who put it there because it was “silly and fun”.

Elon Musk is undoubtedly one of the greatest entrepreneurs and inventors of our time. He has cornered private space flight and the electric car industry, ventured into solar energy and artificial intelligence, and promised super-high speed magnetic train travel, in a tube, underground. Oh, and he plans to colonise Mars.  His childhood story, growing up in South-Africa, is fascinating as well and we have added his biography for young readers into the book lists The Inventors for LKS2 and To The Stars for UKS2.

Written with exclusive access to Elon, his family, and his friends, this book traces Elon’s journey from a child in South Africa to a young man in the United States, his dramatic technical inventions, and his world-changing companies. Elon has sparked new levels of innovation in the world, and this book gives young readers a detailed but fast-paced look at his story.

The Inventors topic looks at the fascinating world of inventors and the wonderful, mysterious and often funny stories behind famous (and not-so-famous) inventions.  There are a number of books on Leonardo Da Vinci available in this book collection, who, like Elon Musk, dreamed of inventing a new type of flying machine!  The picture book Leonardo and the Flying Boy is an excellent way in to this topic, as pupils are introduced to the great genius of the Italian Renaissance by his pupil Zoro.

Other books in this collection will help pupils understand the inventors of the past and present.  What distinguishes these particular individuals? Where does the inner drive to look beyond the ordinary and create something that has never been thought of before come from?  Pupils might like to compare the visions, ambitions and personalities of two great inventors from different time periods, like Leonardo da Vinci and Elon Musk.

They might also like to have a good at inventing something for themselves!  Impossible Inventions channels the innovative and creative spirit of inventors through the ages, bringing together a plethora of ancient and modern inventions. Some are revolutionary, others comical, others simply impossible. But each of them testifies to the extraordinary imaginations of their inventors. You will find here a flying bicycle, bubble telegraph, passenger clouds and passenger birds, mechanical chess players, a water clock, a concentration hood and many more incredible ideas.

A discussion of Elon Musk and SpaceX’s revolutionary ideas about space travel and colonisation would also fit in perfectly to the KS2 topic To The Stars.

Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover is a fabulous picture book, perfect for this topic, that leads nicely into discussions of recent developments in the exploration of Mars.  In August 2012, Nasa succeeded in landing the Curiosity rover (a cart-sized robot vehicle) safely on the surface of Mars.  Part of Curiosity’s mission is to investigate the make up and behavior of the Martian climate and geology and, most importantly, establish if there is any water present on the planet; begging the question – could Mars be suitable for human habitation?

On the 5th of August 2017, NASA celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Curiosity rover landing and related exploratory accomplishments on the planet Mars.  To celebrate Markus Motum has created this wonderful book, in which the Curiosity rover tells his own story.  Curiosity talks directly to you, the reader, and takes you on the journey around Mars with him. Along the way Curiosity explains about space travel and the development of space exploration, especially of the rover series. We also learn about the labs on Earth, the experiments they are doing and the Kennedy Space Centre.

How To Be a Space Explorer is also a ‘must-have’ for this topic, with incredible stories of real-life space exploration.  It has everything young explorers needs to know to travel in space, covering what life in zero gravity is like, how to find your way around the solar system, and the all-important question of how to pee in a spacesuit!  Unique illustrations take kids to the heart of the action and amazing photos show what the universe is really like.