In 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft made interplanetary-travel history by taking the first up-close photos of Pluto. Dr. Alan Stern was the principal investigator for this exciting mission, writing a book about its successes with David Grinspoon. The two authors were featured as part of Space Center Houston’s Thought Leader Series May 12, 2018.
Chasing New Horizons – Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto is the up-close, inside story of one of the greatest space exploration projects of our time.
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 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 2 billion hits in the days surrounding the flyby. At a time when so many think that our most remarkable 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.