The Mission: A True Story
Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 26, 2021
"An extraordinary tale, extraordinarily told." –Megan Abbott
A masterful, genre-defying narrative of the most ambitious science project ever conceived: NASA’s deep space mission to Europa, the Jovian moon where might swim the first known alien life in our solar system
In the spirit of Tom Wolfe and John McPhee, The Mission is an exuberant master class of creative nonfiction that reveals how a motley, determined few expanded the horizon of human achievement.
When scientists discovered the first ocean beyond Earth, they had two big questions: “Is it habitable?” and “How do we get there?” To answer the first, they had to solve the second, and so began a vivacious team’s twenty-year odyssey to mount a mission to Europa, the ocean moon of Jupiter.
Standing in their way: NASA, fanatically consumed with landing robots on Mars; the White House, which never saw a science budget it couldn’t cut; Congress, fixated on going to the moon or Mars—anywhere, really, to give astronauts something to do; rivals in academia, who wanted instead to go to Saturn; and even Jupiter itself, which guards Europa in a pulsing, rippling radiation belt—a halo of death whose conditions are like those that follow a detonated thermonuclear bomb.
The Mission is the Homeric, never-before-told story of modern space exploration, and a magnificent portrait of the inner lives of scientists who study the solar system’s mysterious outer planets. David W. Brown chronicles the remarkable saga of how Europa was won, and what it takes to get things done—both down here, and up there.
About the Author
David W. Brown is a freelance writer whose nonfiction appears frequently in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Scientific American, and Smithsonian. His other publishers include The New Yorker, Vox, and Foreign Policy. He is an Antarctic expeditioner, an endurance runner, a former Army paratrooper, and a veteran of Afghanistan. He is a graduate of Louisiana State University and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. The Mission is his fourth book. Brown lives in New Orleans.
- Publisher : Custom House (January 26, 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 006265442X
- ISBN-13 : 9780062654427
- Item Weight : 1.44 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.45 x 9 inches