Alan Stern is principal investigator of the New Horizons mission, leading NASA’s exploration of the Pluto system and the Kuiper Belt. A planetary scientist, space-program executive, aerospace consultant, and author, he has participated in over two dozen scientific space missions and has been involved at the highest levels in several aspects of American space exploration. David Grinspoon is an astrobiologist, award-winning science communicator and prize-winning author. In 2013 he was appointed the inaugural chair of astrobiology at the Library of Congress. He is a frequent advisor to NASA on space-exploration strategy, and is on the science teams for several interplanetary spacecraft missions. Below is an excerpt from “Chasing New Horizons” (Picador, 2018), a new book co-written by Stern and Grinspoon that traces the many obstacles faced by NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto — both before and after launch.[Read a Q&A with Stern on the new book here] Introduction: Out of Lock On the Saturday afternoon of July 4, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons Pluto mission leader Alan Stern was in his office near the project Mission Control Center, working, when his cell phone rang. He was aware of the Independence Day holiday but was much more focused on the fact… Read full this story
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