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Chasing New Horizons

Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto
Narrated by: Alan Stern, David Grinspoon
Length: 9 hrs and 16 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Astronomy
5 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This audiobook is 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 three 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 seven continents, and NASA’s website for the mission received more than two 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, one billion miles past Pluto in 2019. Told from the insider’s perspective of mission leader Dr. Alan Stern and others on New Horizons, Chasing New Horizons is a riveting story of scientific discovery and of how much we humans can achieve when people focused on a dream work together toward their incredible goal.

©2018 Alan Stern and David Grinspooon (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Chasing New Horizons

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WOW

An amazing story so beautifully articulated. Awesome to hear a story of something I followed so closely. Can't wait for the future of New Horizons.

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This book gave me so many chills I though I was having a stroke

Hearing the story of the little space probe that could was truely amazing and genuinely moving. Having the book be narrated by the authors thus hearing the story straight from the horses mouth also make it feel that much more special

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Exciting and informative

This was an exciting, true story that was really enjoyable to listen to as I learned new things about our solar system.

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Great material but not well narrated.

This is the classic case where the authors should have employed a professional narrator for the audiobook rather than attempt it themselves.

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Must read for space exploration enthusiasts

A great book covering the New Horizons mission from conception to the Pluto flyby. Particularly interesting are the behind the scenes politics within NASA and personal egos that influence the selection of who is going to fly to Pluto. I am sure some will be miffed about what was written about them... A fabulous account by Alan Stern and David Grinspoon. All that is left to say is good luck for the KBO encounter, but with a team like this luck is secondary....

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  • Stuff Reviewer
  • 19-06-2018

Great Topic ... not great coverage

The good...First let me say I love the topic of this book. The achievement that the New Horizon's team made was a great one. Low budget outer planet mission that was on budget and that accomplished the great majority, if not all, of their objectives. The description of the mission planning was great. The trade offs they had to make, again great. Just wish that part of the book was longer.

The interesting....The story of the long and winding road to get the mission off the ground. However it was too much of the book, more than half. The competition with JPL was also interesting and I believe most of what they said was plausible but they actually provided very little proof that JPL was working behind the scenes to sabatoge their mission. Also they seemed to have no qualms about using behind the scenes political shinanigans when it benefitted their cause.

The bad...parts of the book were over the top. Comparing path to getting the mission approved to the Battan Death March... REALLY!That was just ignorant. I understand that this was their story and passion but there was not even an attempt to be take into account other opinions. Constantly comparing their accomplishments to Voyager and Apollo actually seemed like grand standing and just plain repatitive. How many times did they mention that the mission cost 1/5 as much as Voyager and that they had instruments that were so much better. You launched more than a quarter century after Voyager after all the technological advancements is it really that surprising that you had better instruments and a much lighter spacecraft? Mentioning it once or twice would have been fine but over and over? The underdog angle was over done. The public's enthusiasm was also over emphasized. Yes, they were able to take advantage of social media but then again cats playing the pianio have millions of views too.

For me the worst part we that the book was very light on technical details.


Overall it was not bad book but it could have been so much better and befitting of the accomplishments that they actually acchieved instead of trying to elivate their accomplishments to an almost absurd level.

But that's just one person's opinion.

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  • Kirk
  • 19-05-2018

Good story little science

This book tells the story of the effort to explore the Dwarf Planet Pluto. It is successful in doing so however I had hoped for much more on the actual science undertaken. I learn a lot about the backstory but little on the Pluto itself.

6 people found this helpful

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  • J. Robins
  • 26-05-2018

Take this amazing story with a grain of salt

The story of the New Horizons spacecraft is an epic one, fraught with near misses and brushes with death all along its path. The exploration of Pluto is a moment I will remember until I die. While the story is a must hear, be wary that this perspective is from its champion, Alan Stern, who necessarily tells it in perhaps a more dramatic and self-serving way than may be true. Nonetheless, authors' biases aside, this is a great story and I would recommend it to anyone.

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  • Bill in CT
  • 23-03-2020

An Important Litany of Modern Exploration Science

The miracle of New Horizons is well documented from the perspective of the lead science-administrator. This should be mandatory reading for aspiring scientists and engineers to provide basic grounding in industrial science. While some of the travails are painful listening, the dedication of the New Horizons team and ultimate payoff make this a worthy book. Non-scientists (especially elected and appointed government representatives) should also read this to fully appreciate where and how their tax dollars are being spent.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-03-2020

excellent

if you're a space/science nerd, you'll love this account of the inner workings of NASA and this extraordinary mission

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Maryland Girl
  • 17-01-2020

amazing perseverance!

Very inspiring battle against great odds. The team persevered and attained their goal and more.

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  • monkeyboy
  • 12-12-2019

captivating

very interesting story. I had some idea how much was involved but this explore the whole story in depth

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-11-2019

great book highly recommend!!!!

such a good book. I know Alan personally and this is a great way to get a InSight to what he had to gi through to make new horizons a reality!

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  • Christopher
  • 13-11-2019

Cool story, but more Pluto please

If you are a fan of political intrigue and drama, the story of how the New Horizons mission to Pluto came about is a fascinating read, though one ought perhaps to consider the authors' links to the team when analyzing the veracity of the story as told. The story i, in fact, well told, and I got to feel some of the triumph that they felt as each obstacle, whether technical or bureaucratic was overcome.
My only problem with the book is that I wanted more about the actual science. The mission is fascinating as a process story; the science is fascinating on its own. It may be that the work was still so preliminary as of the writing of the book that they didn't feel they had enough to include more.
So, TL/DR if you like process stories about Washington, this is great. IF you like books about science, this may leave you a little thirsty for more.

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  • mr kieran j murphy
  • 05-11-2019

a really interesting back story

we all have seen the pictures from new horizons but to know how the space craft ended up at Pluto is fascinating and worth the listen.

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  • Robert Turner
  • 10-07-2019

Incredible

Loved the book and the story well narrated. A fantastic achievement in planetary exploration. Recommended

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  • mr jack owen hughes
  • 15-04-2019

Inspiring!

This book is a must for any space enthusiast. It’s a truly inspiring story extremely well told.

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  • Rob Sedgwick
  • 17-08-2018

Brilliant

This is a terrific production which enthrals from beginning to end. It's not overly long although it does cover several decades from when the idea of exploring Pluto was first contemplated right up to the fly-by and the subsequent visit to the Kuiper Belt.

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  • "robin9000"
  • 20-06-2018

You think?<br />

a truely insperational inside account of the sheer detemination of a small team of explorers to overcome multiple trials and tribulation to bring to the world a discovery of epic proportions. an insperation and one of the most enjoyable reads of scientic discovery that ive come across

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  • andrew william jones
  • 16-05-2018

Fascinating insights into the New Horizons journey

This book gives a great insight into the battles a deep space mission faces in getting off the drawing board and into space - and the ones that arise once in the void. The technical and political aspects of the development of New Horizons are fascinating, and you come away with a sense of wonder as to how the mission made it launch, never mind the brilliant science it carried out. The narration is a bit flat, but the story carries itself. Looking forward to learning about the mission's next target - 2014 MU69 - at the dawn of 2019.