The exploration of the ninth planet, Pluto, its moon, Charon, and their relationship to the newly discovered Kuiper Belt, is a tale of perseverance, ingenuity and dedication on the part of the planetary scientists who have been lured by the fascination of these far-flung miniature worlds. In Pluto and Charon, Alan Stern and Jacqueline Mitton turn that story into an entertaining adventure, starting with the discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. In a highly accessible narrative, they bring to life the many 'Plutophiles', who with skill and resourcefulness have pieced together over several decades an amazingly detailed picture of the nature of Pluto and Charon. The book also documents vividly the struggle by Plutophiles and the public to persuade NASA to fund a mission to Pluto, the only planet not yet explored from close proximity by a spacecraft. Hopes were alternately raised and dashed before eventual victory. At last, New Horizons (led by author Stern as Principal Investigator) is due to be launched in early 2006 on a 9-year journey to Pluto, Charon and beyond. For this second edition, Stern and Mitton have brought their 1998 book fully up to date, including the latest discoveries about Pluto's ancient relationship with the members of the Kuiper Belt of icy bodies and dwarf planets beyond Neptune. They have also added a completely new chapter on the New Horizons mission.
In this new edition, excellent writer Mitton and productive NASA scientist Stern have significantly updated their book highly recommended. (CHOICE, May 2006) " contains a wealth of scientific findings about Pluto, Charon, and many other Kuiper Belt objects." (Sky & Telescope, April 2006)
New frontier; first facts; a distant dance; another snow; building a binary planet; icefields and ice dwarfs; Everest; postscript: where no one has gone before; a chronology of major events in the exploration of Pluto; suggested readings.
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ALAN STERN, PhD, is a planetary scientist and astrophysicist with both observational and theoretical interests. Dr. Stern is an avid pilot and a principal investigator in NASA's planetary research program, and he was a finalist candidate to become a NASA space shuttle mission specialist. He is the leader of the Southwest Research Institute's Geophysical, Astrophysical, and Planetary Science group, located in Boulder, Colorado. Dr. Stern has published more than 110 technical papers and 20 popular articles. His research has focused on studies of the satellites of the outer planets, Pluto, comets, the Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt, and the search for evidence of solar systems around other stars. JACQUELINE MITTON, PhD, lives and works in Cambridge, England. She trained as an astronomer at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and has for many years concentrated on bringing astronomy to the general public, mainly as a writer, and through the media in her role as Public Relations Officer for the Royal Astronomical Society. She is a former editor of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association and the author, coauthor, or contributing editor of 12 previous books, including The Penguin Dictionary of Astronomy, Gems of Hubble, and The Great Comet Crash.