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Chasing New Horizons

Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto

Alan Stern and David Grinspoon

Picador

Chasing New Horizons Download image

ISBN10: 1250098971
ISBN13: 9781250098979

Trade Paperback

320 Pages

$18.00

CA$23.50

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Shortlisted for the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science

On July 14, 2015, something amazing happened. More than 3 billion miles from Earth, a small NASA spacecraft called New Horizons screamed past Pluto at more than 32,000 miles per hour, focusing its instruments on the long mysterious icy worlds of the Pluto system, and then, just as quickly, continued on its journey out into the beyond.

Nothing like this has occurred in a generation—a raw exploration of new worlds unparalleled since NASA’s Voyager missions to Uranus and Neptune—and nothing quite like it is planned to happen ever again. The photos that New Horizons sent back to Earth graced the front pages of newspapers on all 7 continents, and NASA’s website for the mission received more than 2 billion hits in the days surrounding the flyby. At a time when so many think that our most historic achievements are in the past, the most distant planetary exploration ever attempted not only succeeded in 2015 but made history and captured the world’s imagination.

How did this happen? Chasing New Horizons is the story of the men and women behind this amazing mission: of their decades-long commitment and persistence; of the political fights within and outside of NASA; of the sheer human ingenuity it took to design, build, and fly the mission; and of the plans for New Horizons’ next encounter, 1 billion miles past Pluto in 2019. Told from the insider’s perspective of mission leader Dr. Alan Stern and others on New Horizons, and including two stunning 16-page full-color inserts of images, Chasing New Horizons is a riveting account of scientific discovery, and of how much we humans can achieve when people focused on a dream work together toward their incredible goal.

Reviews

Praise for Chasing New Horizons

"This gripping history . . . reveals the inside story of the [New Horizons] mission’s failures and successes.”—Priyamyada Natarian, New York Review of Books

“A fascinating story of the advances, setbacks, and eventual triumph of a decades-long effort to complete the initial reconnaissance of the solar system.”—Jeff Foust, The Space Review

“It’s a thought-provoking and well-written story of the behind-the-scenes action that brought the spacecraft to life . . . Chasing New Horizons presents a lot of insight into what it’s like to be on a spacecraft mission.”—C.C. Petersen, TheSpacewriter.com

“[Chasing New Horizons] delivers an in-depth view of how to design a space mission, shepherd it through the hurdles of approval and design, and send it toward the unknown when you have just one shot to get it right.”—Sarah Lewin, Space.com

“Suffused with serpentine theatrics and scientific wonder, this is a consistently compelling, top-notch documentation of intrepid planetary exploration.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

1


DREAMS OF A GRAND TOUR


This book tells the story of a small but sophisticated machine that traveled a very, very long way (3 billion miles) to do something historic—to explore Pluto for the first time. It achieved that...

About the author

Alan Stern and David Grinspoon

DR. ALAN STERN is principal investigator of the New Horizons mission, leading NASA’s exploration of the Pluto system and the Kuiper Belt. A planetary scientist, space-program executive, aerospace consultant, and author, he has participated in over two dozen scientific space missions and has been involved at the highest levels in several aspects of American space exploration. Dr. Stern is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2016 Carl Sagan Memorial Award of the American Astronautical Society, and has twice been named to the Time 100. He lives in Colorado.

DR. DAVID GRINSPOON is an astrobiologist, award-winning science communicator, and prize-winning author. In 2013 he was appointed the inaugural chair of astrobiology at the Library of Congress. He is a frequent advisor to NASA on space-exploration strategy, and is on the science teams for several interplanetary spacecraft missions. Grinspoon's previous books include Earth in Human Hands (2016) and his writing has appeared inThe New York Times, Slate, Scientific American, Los Angeles Times, and others. He lives in Washington, DC.

Henry Throop

Alan Stern

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