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November 14, 2023
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9781421448169
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$16.95 USD, £14.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

What's Hidden Inside Planets?

A guided journey through the inner workings of Earth, the cloaked mysteries of other planets in our solar system, and beyond.

Extreme heat. Extreme cold. Extreme pressure. Toxic gases. Scorching magma flows, and ice volcanoes. Interior tides. Asteroids filled with gold. In What's Hidden Inside Planets? planetary scientist Dr. Sabine Stanley cracks the surface to reveal the beating heart of planets and what created them—from the building blocks of swirling cosmic dust, pebbles, and gas to coalesced planetesimal beginnings to the worlds we see today. We're only beginning to explore the secretive interiors of planets, where awe-inspiring wonders await.

Our home planet is no exception. Earth, from space, looks like a shimmering gem suspended in an inky, infinite expanse. But this serene image masks the magnificent and volatile interior forces that make life possible for millions of species on the surface. The placid appearances of our neighboring planets similarly belie their powers—and science fiction-worthy features, like diamond rain. The daily machinations of Earth's deep interior make the planet a habitable, yet sometimes treacherous, place to live. Drill down thousands of miles through our built environments and soil, sand, water, rock, and minerals to the outer (mainly liquid iron with nickel) and inner core, encountering intense convection, roiling metals, hidden continents, and shifting tectonic plates. Discover the effects of magnetism, rotation, and seismic activity seen and sensed in the forms of auroras, hurricanes, volcanoes, and earthquakes, among other manifestations. Our neighboring planets boast their own fierce forces, along with moons covered by frozen oceans that might someday reveal extraterrestrial life.

Join this exciting journey to far-flung interstellar locations and the center of the Earth to learn what lies beneath our feet, and why it's the best real estate in our solar system.

About the Authors

Sabine Stanley, PhD is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Planetary Physics at Johns Hopkins University focusing on magnetic fields and other geophysical elements as a means of studying the interiors of planets, moons, asteroids, and exoplanets. She is a 2011 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, received the William Gilbert Award of the American Geophysical Union in 2010, and held a Canada Research Chair in Planetary Physics from 2012 to 2017. She's a participating scientist on the NASA Mars InSight mission investigating Mars's ancient magnetic field, and she leads the Magnetism & Planetary Interiors research group at Johns Hopkins. Her work has been featured in National Geographic Magazine, Bloomberg View, CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks, and the Washington Post. She is the creator of The Great Courses lecture series "A Field Guide to the Planets." John Wenz is a science writer and editor whose works have appeared in Scientific American, Discover Magazine, Popular Science, Smithsonian Magazine, New Scientist, and many other publications. He is the science editor at Inverse.

Endorsements

"Sabine Stanley serves up a sumptuous smörgåsbord of science, diving into the deep puzzles of planets and moons. A slathering of kitchen analogies, and a sprinkling of delicious tidbits about the author's evolution, make the physics easy to digest. A treat!"

- Ralph Lorenz, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab; JAXA Akatsuki Venus Climate Orbiter and InSight at Mars; author of Titan Unveiled

"A charming and quirky meander through the interiors of the planets around us and through a life in science. Come for the deep knowledge of how planets operate, but stay for the delightful asides about Friends, the unexpected pleasures of white chocolate in pâte, and why Venus is a terrible planet."

- Mike Brown, Caltech Center for Comparative Planetary Evolution; author of How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming

"A mesmerizing glimpse into the inner secrets of our own planet and its siblings. With wit and humor, Sabine Stanley plays planetary decoder, helping us reimagine Earth and the other planets as continually evolving under the sway of the universe's implacable forces. I couldn't put it down."

- Alanna Mitchell, science journalist, playwright, and author of The Spinning Magnet: The Electromagnetic Force that Created the Modern WorldAnd Could Destroy It

"Dr. Stanley's chronicles of humanity's planetary explorations is an exciting and approachable guide to what makes planets tick, inside and out!"

- Jeff Coughlin, SETI Institute; NASA Kepler Mission

"Dr. Stanley draws on research from her own lab and those of other leading scientists to share breathtaking accounts of what forces and materials are at work inside planets, and how they affect their surfaces and atmospheres. She also sheds light on the mysteries of our beautiful—but often fierce—solar system, leaving us with a deeper appreciation of the preciousness of life on our home planet."

- Lisa J. Graumlich, American Geophysical Union; University of Washington

"What's Hidden Inside Planets? is a great read that's filled with the wonder and joy of scientific discoveries connected to the unseen Earth underfoot, the planetary menagerie in our solar system, and beyond. Stanley's insights also afford a window into discovery-based science itself—how we 'know what we know' about both near and distant worlds—providing a fabulous 'on-ramp' linking what planetary scientists do to what they've discovered."

- C.M. Bailey, College of William and Mary; Geological Society of America

Reviews

"Stanley, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University, approaches her topic with the generous enthusiasm of a nature guide taking visitors on a field trip....'I hope I've been able to portray how wondrous the inner worlds of planets are,' Stanley writes modestly near the end of her book. Hope achieved."

Johns Hopkins University Press
Johns Hopkins Wavelengths
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