Best Space Books and Sci-Fi: A Reading List –

There are plenty of great books out there about space — so many, in fact, that it can feel a little overwhelming to figure out where to start. So the editors and writers at have put together a list of their favorite books about the universe. These are the books that we love — the ones that informed us, entertained us and inspired us. We hope they’ll do the same for you.

We’ve divided the books into five categories, which each have their own dedicated pages. On this page, we feature books we’re reading now and books we’ve recently read, which we will update regularly. Click to see the best of:

We hope there’s something on the list for every reader of every age. We’re also eager to hear about your favorite space books, so please leave your suggestions in the comments, and let us know why you love them. You can see our ongoing Space Books coverage here.

By Tim Peake

"Hello, Is This Planet Earth?" by Tim Peake
Credit: Little, Brown and Co.

British astronaut Tim Peake’s photo book takes its name from an unusual moment during his six months on the International Space Station — he tried to call his family on Christmas Eve in 2015, but dialed the wrong number instead, confusing the answerer with an unusual greeting: “Hello, is this Planet Earth?”

The book is filled with Peake’s favorite photo selections of night and day, oceans and rivers, mountains and deserts,  towns and cities, and the Earth overall, as well as the satellites, cargo craft and other gear that made appearances during his time on the space station. His images are interspersed with descriptions of how he captured the photos and anecdotes about his time in space. ~Sarah Lewin

Read more about the book here, and see a gallery of some of the book’s images here.

By Leland Melvin

"Chasing Space: An Astronaut's Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances" by Leland Melvin.
Credit: Harper Collins Publishers

This astronaut’s memoir tells a truly inspiring story of how one unsuspecting football player from a small town in rural Virginia wound up flying in the Space Shuttle Atlantis on missions to the International Space Station. Leland Melvin started his career playing professional football in the NFL, but when an injury prevented him from playing, he went to school to become an engineer. It wasn’t until a recruiter from NASA grabbed his arm at a career fair that Melvin realized he could be an astronaut. He has since retired from the astronaut corps and now he dedicates his time to helping young women and minorities get involved in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) so they can realize and live up to their full potential.

There is also a young readers’ edition of Melvin’s book, adapted to be a shorter and easier read than the adult book. It includes 16 pages of color photographs and three do-it-yourself experiments for kids to learn how to build small rockets and study the chemistry of candy. ~Hanneke Weitering spoke with Leland Melvin about his incredible life story and work to make STEAM more diverse and inclusive here.

By Drew Brockington

"CatStronauts: Mission Moon" by Drew Brockington
Credit: Little, Brown and Co.

Blast off on a space adventure with the most adorable space travelers in the cosmos: the CatStronauts! The graphic novel series tells the story of some incredible spacefaring felines — Major Meowser, Pom Pom, Blanket and Waffles — as they venture to the moon, Mars and beyond. In “Mission Moon,” the gang solves a global energy crisis by building a solar power plant on the moon. In the second book, “Race to Mars,” they blast off again in an attempt to beat the CosmoCats to the Red Planet. ~Hanneke Weitering spoke with Drew Brockington about his CatStronauts books here. Check out excerpts from “Mission Moon” here.

By Michael Summers and James Trefil

"Exoplanets: Diamond Worlds, Super Earths, Pulsar Planets and the New Search for Life Beyond Our Solar System" (Smithsonian Books, 2017) by Michael Summers and James Trefil
Credit: Ron Miller/Jody Billert

The search for planets beyond Earth’s solar system has revealed countless surprises, including the existence of strange and unexpected worlds that astronomers would have never imagined existed only a few decades ago. A new book titled “Exoplanets: Diamond Worlds, Super Earths, Pulsar Planets and the New Search for Life Beyond Our Solar System” (Smithsonian Books, 2017) explores the history of exoplanet research, illustrates the many different types of planets that have been discovered to date and discusses how astronomers plan to further study these newfound alien worlds. ~Samantha Mathewson

You can read an interview with the authors here.

By Carrie Nugent

"Asteroid Hunters" (Simon & Schuster, 2017) by Carrie Nugent.
Credit: Simon & Schuster

The solar system is a wild place, and even Earth’s immediate neighborhood is much more chaotic than maps would suggest — researchers discover more than 100 near-Earth asteroids every month. A new book by Carrie Nugent, an asteroid researcher from Caltech, goes through how we find asteroids and near-Earth objects and what we would do if one was heading toward us. “Asteriod Hunters” (Simon & Schuster, 2017) is a quick overview of the growing field, giving a feel for how science is done and where we’ll have to pick up speed to protect Earth — plus, a visceral understanding of exactly how much risk is out there. ~Sarah Lewin

Read an interview with Nugent on the book and the latest in asteroid hunting here.

Again, check out our full lists here:

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