The line was short so I didn't have much time for a review, but this morning I saw copies of National Geographic Exploring Space special collector's edition, magazine format, while in line at the grocery.

I think. I can't swear that was the title. I'm pretty sure "Space" was in the title. The website National Geographic Exploring Space Volume 7 might be the same cover, but I can't swear. Hey, it was a really short line! The one distinguishing mark on the cover was how long to display it (whatever the wording was) and it was some time in mid- to late-January, 2009. So, maybe I'll see it again and can confirm its identity.

Wait. That cover on the website isn't what I saw. I recall the image being, or including, the marvelous back-lit image of Saturn that Cassini captured, where the rings are bright and Saturn's body, except for the circular limb, was dark. What I saw may still be in the series, and have the same title, but a different volume number. I don't know...

My quick flip-through brought a lot of pretty pictures before my eyes. I had seen many of the on the Web, but they had a new beauty printed on glossy paper with much more dynamic range than a computer display. Many were breathtakingly better than I recalled. A image of one cape of Victoria Crater, shot by Opportunity, showing the thousand-layer sandstone, was glorious.

There was plenty I hadn't see before, too, worthwhile, and other interesting information. Awesome was one schematic showing total missions to everywhere over all time, colored lines representing different nations, brightness indicating success. Like 43 missions to Mars. It looked pretty, and impressive, seeing all those colored lines leaving Earth and heading for Mars, most going into orbit, many darkened for failure. Venus got about as many. Mercury: 2. The Sun: 9. The Moon: maybe 70. Earth: lots. And, then there was the small handful of deep-space probes to different targets. It was quite a nice chart.

Look for it. The price appears to be around US$10. It might make a nice stocking stuffer for Christmas. I'll try to get in a longer line next time so I can give it a better review. Or, I suppose I could, like, buy a copy. Nah... I've already got too many books.