The Little Spacecraft That Could: New Horizons’ amazing journey to Pluto and Arrokoth by Joyce Lapin, illustrated by Simona Ceccarelli

Published by Sterling Children’s Books

The Little Spacecraft That Could: Lapin, Joyce, Ceccarelli, Simona:  9781454937555: Books
The Little Spacecraft That Could: Lapin, Joyce, Ceccarelli, Simona:  9781454937555: Books

Summary:  On January 19, 2006, a spacecraft called New Horizons blasted off from Earth, traveling toward what was then the planet Pluto.  It took ten years to reach that destination, during which time Pluto’s designation changed from planet to dwarf planet.  Much of that decade was spent by New Horizons in a shutdown state, hurtling through space on autopilot at a million miles per (Earth) day.  In late 2014, scientists “woke” New Horizons again, and in 2015, she began transmitting photos of Pluto that captivated Earthlings and greatly increased understanding of the dwarf planet and its moons.  A few years later, on New Year’s Day of 2019, New Horizons reached another object called Arrokoth that had been discovered in the years after her launch.  Photos of Arrokoth helped scientists understand more about the early years of the solar system.  New Horizons isn’t done yet, as she continues to travel further out in space.  Includes a timeline, glossary, and resources for additional research.  40 pages; grades 1-5.

Pros:  This charming science book gives New Horizons a quirky personality and uses words like “ginormous”, but also makes the story of scientific discovery engaging and packs a lot of information about space exploration and the solar system into a 40-page picture book.

Cons:  I was wishing for more information on how New Horizons transmits photos and information back to Earth, which seems like an impossible task over such a great distance.

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