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'Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes'

<i>Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes</i>, by Michael Benson
Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes, by Michael Benson

Trawling through the Internet from his home in Slovenia, author Michael Benson stumbled upon some of the most expensive pictures ever taken: Otherworldly images sent back by the spacecraft humankind has launched over the past four decades in an effort to capture the heavens.

In a new book, Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes, Benson collects nearly 300 of these photographs, snapped over an area of nearly 3 billion miles. The vistas are strange and beautiful -- from the fiery arcing prominences of the sun to the celestial dance of Io floating above Jupiter. NPR's Scott Simon talks with Benson about the book, which he calls a collection of "landscape" photography.

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Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.