Chasing New Horizons by Alan Stern

Chasing New Horizons

Alan Stern and David Grinspoon take us behind the scenes of the science, politics, egos, and public expectations that fueled the greatest space mission of our time: New Horizons' misison to Pluto.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 Plut...


Details Chasing New Horizons

TitleChasing New Horizons
ISBN9781250098962
Author
Release DateMay 1st, 2018
PublisherPicador
GenreScience, Nonfiction, Space, Astronomy, History, Audiobook
Rating

Reviews Chasing New Horizons

  • Steve
    1970-01-01
    I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.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 Plutop...
  • Stuart Rodriguez
    1970-01-01
    In July 2015, the New Horizons space probe reached Pluto after a 10-year voyage and sent back the first clear pictures of our Solar System’s outermost neighbor. This is the inside story of how it happened, written by the scientists involved—but you don’t need to be an astronomer to enjoy this story. This book is exceptionally easy to read and understand, and provides fantastic insight into what it actually took to get this unlikely space mi...
  • Steve
    1970-01-01
    Now, let me state up front that these type of books, chronocling scientific research, or events, are hard to write. It's very hard to write a book that can convey a level of excitement and emotion for an event that happened in the past, in which we technically know the outcome, generally filled with more scientific and beaurecratic dealings and most of all, set over a very very long span of time. Chasing New Horizons I think does and doesn't fall...
  • vonblubba
    1970-01-01
    I always thought that the most difficult part of a space mission was the technical one. Building a machine that could travel millions of kilometers during a decade or more without blowing up.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 missi...
  • David Agranoff
    1970-01-01
    One the hottest debates in the space nerd community over the last couple years surrounds the little planet Pluto. Out at the far reaches of our solar system Pluto has only been known to our science since the 1930's when Clyde Tombaugh using math and an analog telescope proved that there was another object out beyond Neptune. Eventually this planet was given the name Pluto, and in recent years it was demoted from Planet to Dwarf Planet. Look I am ...
  • Brian McGrane
    1970-01-01
    It's an amazing story that was quite gripping at times, and I recommend the book. The audiobook narrator (one of the authors) is horrendous and they should have gotten a pro reader. It works best if you can play it at 1.25X speed. Alan, the mission PI, is a little too egotistical, sentimental, and superstitious, but maybe that's the kind of guy who pushes a mission forward until completion for 26 years.
  • nukie19
    1970-01-01
    As a lifelong space geek, I wanted so badly to absolutely love this book and read about the Pluto mission. However, while the subject was so fantastically interesting, the writing left something to be desired. The first half of the book - before the mission launched into space - reads like just lists of names and job descriptions. And throughout, the switching between third and first person story telling is disjarring, as the layout doesn't alway...
  • Dan Ust
    1970-01-01
    Detailed story of how the project came about and was executed. I find this story intrinsically interesting, especially on how problems were dealt with as they arose. Don’t expect as much on Pluto; this is mainly about the spacecraft itself.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 acknowledgeme...
  • Cherei
    1970-01-01
    Fascinating insider's experience from the mission conception to reaching Pluto! I totally enjoyed reading 'Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto' by Alan Stern. I learned so much about NASA and how missions come about within the committee red-tape. They managed to bypass the usual pat on the head to actually getting folks excited about the need to explore the remainder of the planets in our solar system. It is somewhat fasc...
  • Hen
    1970-01-01
    An excellent book on the Pluto system (the outermost planet in oursolar system) and the New Horizons mission that was the first to explore it in 2015, after a 9 year transit from earth, with a flyby of 7 scientific instruments. 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 mee...
  • Veronika
    1970-01-01
    This was a great ride! Interesting front seat view of Alan Stern, the behind the scene mechanics of space launch and live long quest to discovery. I am a Pluto fan, so this was a nice book to read.
  • Bryan
    1970-01-01
    Loved learning about the work it took to get to Pluto! Very cool book.
  • Ken Hamner
    1970-01-01
    Great book.....provides a perfect example of how great things require great commitment of time, energy, resilience, and resources, all of which make great rewards possible.
  • Chris
    1970-01-01
    Excellent and fun book, really showing how planetary exploration missions happen. I would recommend this to anyone interested in space exploration, including high schoolers and college students.
  • Justin
    1970-01-01
    A fantasticly detailed and highly readable account of mankind's journey to the last planet and the vision and tenacity that made it happen.
  • Jordan Ricks
    1970-01-01
    Inspiring and interesting. I highly recommend The Interstellar Age by Jim Bell as a companion piece.
  • Nestor Rychtyckyj
    1970-01-01
    This is one of the more inspirational books that I have read this year – it describes the mission to reach and explore the planet Pluto. I am a big fan of space exploration and quickly snapped this book up and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The authors frequently compare their exploration to the great explorers such as Magellan. However, New Horizons was an extremely complex process that included getting funded and approved as well as actually ...
  • Val
    1970-01-01
    After reading several excellent books this year about historic manned space missions, this book was an interesting change of pace. I had never read a book about an unmanned space exploration mission, and I had some initial concern that maybe it wouldn't be as intensely interesting as humans risking their lives to break out of earth's gravity and into orbit, or to go to the moon. Although this book lacked the human drama of life-and-death decision...
  • Todd Martin
    1970-01-01
    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 s...
  • James C
    1970-01-01
    Listened to the audiobook, which was fairly well narrated by the authors. Definitely a worthwhile read for space geeks. The story is fascinating on at least two levels. First, the 17 years of bureaucratic maneuvering and politics that preceded the launch of the New Horizons spacecraft are a case study in perseverance that mirrors the long, uncertain developmental process of many other major aerospace and defense projects. Second, the level of det...
  • Mark Yates
    1970-01-01
    My first impulse was to award this book five stars. As I am thoroughly impressed with the project and the people who made it happen. It tells an impressive story of patience and persistence that stretched over a quarter century and an entire career. We get a great behind the scenes look at the machinations of NASA and the scientific community that helps it make decisions. We see office politics. We see congressional and presidential politics. We ...
  • Luke Duncan
    1970-01-01
    This book is somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. The writing isn’t especially great and it doesn’t really get engaging until about half way through. The story the book tells is worth it though. I remember when New Horizons did the flyby in 2015 and still get chills thinking about it. In fact, the background on my phone has been an image of Pluto from this mission for the last 3 years (I didn’t realize it’d been that long until I read this bo...
  • Fraser Kinnear
    1970-01-01
    Another great book about a NASA probe. While the one I read about Voyager was probably objectively more interesting, due to the broader scope of the project, I have a closer personal connection to New Horizions because I followed the mission in real time. Perhaps most interesting for me was not the experiments themselves, or even the drama of the flyby (which does give goosebumps), but story of the New Horizons team and APL's fight to keep the pr...
  • Bob Walenski
    1970-01-01
    What an incredible story!!! it took 26 years of practical and scientific work to take an idea to its completion. I never realized how difficult and complicated scientific research ventures are, or how frustrating or seemingly impossible they are to accomplish. The joy and Scientific credentials can put you into history, and to those dedicated to this work, the efforts and degree of challenge they take are just bumps in the road and problems to s...
  • Bill Pellerin
    1970-01-01
    This book is only going to appeal to space geeks (like me). I had the opportunity to hear Alan Stern give a presentation on the New Horizons mission some months ago, and it's an interesting story. The book begins with a short chapter about the loss of communication with the spacecraft as it approached Pluto. The subject is put on hold until the end of the book, where, as we all know by now, the problem was resolved and the mission was a great suc...
  • Karl Schaeffer
    1970-01-01
    Science fact and Space history. Traces the story of the New Horizons unmanned planetary probe to Pluto. From the discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh to the first ideas of a Pluto probe in the late 80’s by a bunch of young post docs. The mission proposals various starts and stops thru the scientific community and the bureaucracy. Then an almost too late funding approval in the early 2000’s to meet a launch date of 2006 to support a flyby in 2...
  • Joey
    1970-01-01
    Much less airbrushed than the usual NASA fare. The high level politicing and obstructionism and lack of consistency is more or less laid bare to see. The least but clearest of which is this amazing quote from the PI -- We more or less created a ridiculous homework assignment for them, probably months of work, but we only gave them a month to do it. When the deadline came a month later, of course the information we asked for was not complete, and ...
  • Mattr76
    1970-01-01
    This fascinating book recounts the odyssey of sending the first mission to Pluto, most of which occurred before the the spacecraft ever left the launchpad. That Alan Stern and his team navigated the hazardous waters of NASA mission funding, fraught with political intrigue, hostile fiefdoms (interestingly, JPL is depicted as a sort of villain), and impossible cost constraints, to actually launch something is a testament to their persistence and fa...
  • Jordan Yeager
    1970-01-01
    This is the first time I've had a non-fiction book keep me on the edge of my seat and try to avoid spoilers (silly, I know, don't judge). Yes, a lot of the book is listing scientists and their roles and all that, but the author does a good job of personalizing the information. He did a phenomenal job humanizing this project and making it comprehensible. The scope of this task is unfathomable, but they pulled it off perfectly. I only had two minor...