Pluto and Charon: Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System by Jacqueline Mitton and Alan Stern

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.

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