Out of the Cradle (book)

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Out of the Cradle
Out of the Cradle book cover.jpg
AuthorWilliam K. Hartmann
IllustratorWilliam K. Hartmann
Ron Miller
Pamela Lee
Cover artistPamela Lee
SubjectPlanetary exploration
Publication date
September 1984
Preceded byThe Grand Tour: A Traveller's Guide to the Solar System (1981) 
Followed byCycles of Fire (1987) 

Out of the Cradle: Exploring the Frontiers beyond Earth is a 1984 book written and illustrated by planetary scientist William K. Hartmann, Ron Miller and Pamela Lee. Cradle describes potential manned space missions to the planets, moons and asteroids of the Solar System. The approximately 100[1] space art illustrations were in large part based on photographs from the unmanned space probes Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, and the Viking Lander, available at the time of publication, with scientific extrapolation of the likely appearance of various planetary surfaces. The title is derived from a quote from Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, included in the preface: "Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in the cradle forever."

The book is notable for introducing (on p. 182) Hartmann's 'golden rule' of space exploration:

Space exploration must be carried out in a way so as to reduce, not aggravate, tensions in human society.


  • Preface by William K. Hartmann
  • Prologue: The Solar System as Our Backyard
  • The Beginning
  • Alternatives: A Future Without Space?
  • From Shuttles to Space Cities
  • Robot Astronauts
  • Return to the Moon
  • Asteroids and Comets: Our First Landfalls Beyond the Moon
  • Martians - In Myth and Reality
  • Phobos and Deimos: Depots on the Road to Mars
  • Into the Realm of Ice and Fire
  • The Search for Life
  • Epilogue: The Golden Rule of Space Explorations


Cradle has received positive critical academic reviews, including from the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.[2] It has been recommended as a teaching aid for science classes.[3]


  1. ^ "BILL HARTMANN'S WRITING PAGE | Planetary Science Institute". psi.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-04.
  2. ^ "1986JRASC..80..217 Page 217". adsabs.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-04.
  3. ^ Miller, W.J. (1998). Teaching U.S. History Through Children's Literature: Post-World War II. Teacher Ideas Press. p. 106. ISBN 9781563085819. Retrieved 2015-04-04.
  • Out of the Cradle: Exploring the Frontiers beyond Earth, William K. Hartmann, Ron Miller and Pamela Lee. New York: Workman Publishing (1984)

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