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The Asteroid Hunter

By: Dante Lauretta
Narrated by: Dante Lauretta, Sir Brian May
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Publisher's Summary

A "captivating, behind-the-scenes account" of NASA’s historic OSIRIS-REx mission to return an asteroid sample and unlock the mystery of formation on life on earth braided with the remarkable life story of the mission’s leader, Dr. Dante Lauretta (Sara Seager).

On September 11, 1999, humanity made a monumental discovery in the vastness of space. Scientists uncovered an asteroid of immense scientific importance—a colossal celestial entity. As massive as an aircraft carrier and towering as high as the iconic Empire State Building, this cosmic titan was later named Bennu. Remarkable for much more than its size, Bennu belonged to a rare breed of asteroids capable of revealing the essence of life itself. But just as Bennu became a beacon of promise, researchers identified a grave danger. Hurtling through space, it threatens to collide with our planet on September 24, 2182.

Leading the expedition was Dr. Dante Lauretta, the Principal Investigator of NASA's audacious OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission. Tasked with unraveling Bennu's mysteries, his team embarked on a daring quest to retrieve a precious sample from the asteroid's surface—one that held the potential to not only unlock the secrets of life's origins but also to avert an unprecedented catastrophe.

A tale of destiny and danger, The Asteroid Hunter chronicles the high-stakes mission firsthand, narrated by Dr. Lauretta. It offers listeners an intimate glimpse into the riveting exploits of the mission and Dr. Lauretta's wild, winding personal journey to Bennu and back. Peeling back the curtain on the wonders of the cosmos, this enthralling account promises a rare glimpse into the tightly woven fabric of scientific exploration, where technical precision converges with humanity’s profound curiosity and indominable spirit.

©2024 Dante Lauretta (P)2024 Grand Central Publishing

Critic Reviews

"A beautifully written, first-hand report from the scientific leader of an awe-inspiring NASA mission, aimed at the pioneering delivery of material from an ancient asteroid to Earth. While the book educates us about the technological heights of human ingenuity, the returned asteroid material would teach us about our cosmic roots within the solar system and the organic molecules that sourced life on Earth."—Avi Loeb, Professor of Science at Harvard University and bestselling author of Extraterrestrial

"In this captivating, behind-the-scenes account of the OSIRIS-REx NASA asteroid sample return mission, PI Dante Lauretta provides an unmatched portrayal of the joys and challenges from an insider's perspective. A fascinating read."—Sara Seager, Professor of physics and planetary science at MIT and award-winning author of The Smallest Lights in the Universe

"Human frailty and courage are at the heart of this unflinching book and this daring mission to understand what a rubble pile in space can tell us about life–its origins and its pageant here and now. The Asteroid Hunter explores the chancy beauty of a mission and its incredible team, its dedicated leader and the cosmos itself."—Christopher Cokinos, award-winning author of Still as Bright: An Illuminating History of the Moon from Antiquity to Tomorrow and The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars

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