Check it Out: ‘Build Your Own’ a ride across the cosmos




Space — the final frontier.

If you don’t start hearing the theme song from “Star Trek” after reading those four words, you may not understand why I think Captain Jean-Luc Picard is quite possibly the greatest television character — ever.

His commanding presence, preference for earl grey tea (hot!), succinct orders (Engage! Make it so!) combine in a perfect package of strength, determination and charm.

Why do I bring this up? The space shuttle Endeavour has embarked on its final mission, and with only one shuttle mission left — Atlantis in July — I wish that Captain Picard was able to come forward and expound on the importance of continuing space exploration. Alas, Jean-Luc is not real.

But there are others — all very real — who are taking steps to make sure galactic expeditions continue.

Piers Bizony, a popular science writer, offers a fascinating look at what is needed to make space travel accessible to more people— and who the big players are in developing space tourism. Despite the title, don’t expect to find detailed blueprints for making your own space vehicle.

But if the likes of Captain Kirk and Buck Rogers stir your imagination, this nonfiction book will send you on a thrilling ride into the cosmos.

Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at She blogs at