Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto
Called "spellbinding" (Scientific American) and "thrilling...a future classic of popular science" (PW), the up close, inside story of the greatest space exploration project of our time, New Horizons’ mission to Pluto, as shared with David Grinspoon by mission leader Alan Stern and other key players.
On July 14, 2015, something amazing happened. More than 3 billion miles...more
Contrary to popular belief the journey of New Horizons didn't start in 2006. It's start was painfully in 1989. Yes, that is how l ...more
After reading this book, I believe I was probably wrong. The hard part is the political one, all the effort required to get the mission approved and funded. I really could not believe the amount of approvals and consequent cancellations the New Horizons mission went through, the political machinations it had ...more
Every once in a while, I wonder where I would have ended up had I stayed at Ohio State instead of joining the Air Force in the mid-80s. My major was astronomy, with a minor in physics, topics which still fascinate me to this day. Maybe I would have ended up on one of these exploration projects... who knows?
Anyway, this is a great book on the trials and tribulations of the Plutophiles, scientists and engineers that pushed NASA l ...more
Chapter 1 looks at the early life of Alan Stern who was fascinated with space from an early ag ...more
What I enjoyed most was the detailed story of the development of the mission, the building of the spacecraft and the design of the mission. From concept to final flyby, the authors take us on an intricate journey through the entire process. The story had nail-biting cliffhangers, jubilant wins and bone-crushing defeats. ...more
I'm definitely rounding up here, I would have liked more detail in many areas and was a little disappointed in certain parts, but in general it was good. It must be very hard to write these kinds of stories ...more
Those other books were at their best when describing the engineering problems encountered and the way they were solved. They make you feel just a bit like you are personally living through the excitement of the development process vicariously. This book by contrast consists primarily of alternating between self-pity that about the political and bureaucratic hu ...more
Compared to other boo ...more
New Horizons is a space probe launched by NASA in 2006. Its mission was to perform a fly-by of Pluto nine years later, with the primary objective of:
• Characterizing the geology and morphology of Pluto and its moon Charon
• Mapping the chemical compositions of Pluto and Charon surfaces
• Characterizing the atmosphere of Pluto
The mission was roughly modeled on the Voyager program and billed as an exploration of the final planet of our solar system (an irony given that Pluto was later downgraded to ...more
By the way, sometimes they cram too much in, especially when it comes to the people involved. I know they wanted to give credit where credit is due, but much of that could’ve been moved to the acknowledgements. In terms of writing, their prose is serviceable.
The authors decide to describe in excruciating detail their plight to build the probe while writing very little about science. It gets tedious. Not even the "out of lock" situation could pique my curiosity again.
And after a mention that a male scientist (who had very little or nothing to do with the project) has brought his h ...more
Brings out the heroic persistence needed over decades to gain support for the mission, design and build the spacecraft, and manage the mission through its many difficult stages. Discusses the design tradeoffs needed to meet the cost and schedule requirements in depth.
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