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 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—and nothing like it is planned to happen 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 our most historic achievements are in the past, the most distant planetary exploration ever attempted not only succeeded 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 the mission: of their decades-long commitment; of the political fights within and outside of NASA; of the sheer human ingenuity it took to design, build, and fly the mission. Told from the insider’s perspective of Dr. Alan Stern, Chasing New Horizons is a riveting story of scientific discovery, and of how far humanity can go when we work together toward an incredible goal.
About the Authors
Dr. Alan Stern is Principal Investigator of the New Horizons mission. A planetary scientist, space program executive, aerospace consultant, and author, he has participated in numerous planetary missions. He lives in Colorado.
Dr David Grinspoon is an astrobiologist, award-winning science communicator, author, and the inaugural Chair of Astrobiology at the Library of Congress. He is a frequent adviser to NASA on space exploration strategy and lives in lives in Washington, DC.
"Stern and Grinspoon's record of this epic project is thoroughly captivating... Suffused with serpentine theatrics and scientific wonder, this is a consistently compelling, top-notch documentation of intrepid planetary exploration."
Kirkus, starred review
"Riveting... a fascinating David versus Goliath story... Even though we know the final outcome, the story continues to be a nail-biter... The two authors, with their insider's perspective, capture the arduous process with great narrative verve."
Marcia Bartusiak, The Wall Street Journal
"A remarkable new book... told in exhilarating prose that moves this incredible narrative briskly without getting mired in the tall weeds of technical jargon.... Stern and Grinspoon take you on an uplifting, exhilarating, fascinating journey, all without leaving the comfort and oxygen of our planet."
Scott Stantis, Chicago Tribune
"An exhilarating trek into the 'wild black yonder'."
Barbara Kiser, Nature
"Riveting... destined to become a classic of popular science."
Publishers Weekly "Best Summer Books 2018"