The New Horizons mission was a triumph, revealing Pluto as an utterly unique and beautiful world. But the mission first had to survive challenge after challenge, fighting to be developed, meeting a nearly impossible launch deadline, and then narrowly avoiding disaster when it was barely a week from its destination. The entire dramatic tale has now been told by Principal Investigator Alan Stern and his co-author, astrobiologist David Grinspoon. They join Mat Kaplan to talk about their book, Chasing New Horizons—Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto. A signed copy of the book will go to the winner of this episode’s space trivia contest. Emily Lakdawalla has returned from an international gathering of Mercury scientists with a special report. The Planetary Society’s Senior Editor also marks the launch of a Chinese lunar orbiter.
Alan Stern, Mat Kaplan, and David Grinspoon
New Horizons PI Alan Stern, Planetary Radio host Mat Kaplan and astrobiologist/science communicator David Grinspoon
Alan Stern and David Grinspoon
Alan Stern and David Grinspoon on stage in the Griffith Observatory’s Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater
NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI
High-resolution enhanced-color global MVIC portrait of Pluto
This beautiful high-resolution image of Pluto is from a single observation with the MVIC imager on the Ralph instrument. It is an enhanced-color view made of three images captured through infrared, red, and blue filters. The three individual images were denoised, deconvolved, and enlarged by a factor of 2 before being combined into this stunning portrait.