January 4, 2017

Mission to Pluto is a Starred Success!

By Mary Kay Carson
🌟Read the starred Kirkus review!🌟

Happy New Year to you and happy new book to me! ☺

Mission to Pluto: The First Visit to an Ice Dwarf and the Kuiper Belt is out January 10th. The book is about the first ever spacecraft mission to visit Pluto and the surprising discoveries it made. The plucky piano-sized probe New Horizons reached Pluto in 2015 after a 9½-year journey. The book follows the team of scientists as they build, launch, and fly New Horizons three billion miles to finally arrive at the Pluto system of an ice dwarf planet and its five moons.
Images taken by the spacecraft have given us a never-imagined look at Pluto. They show a reddish surface with ice-water mountains, glaciers, ice volcanoes, and hint of an underground ocean. I'd followed the mission since its 2006 launch, even sending in my name to be included on a CD of Pluto fans that flew aboard the spacecraft. (Geek alert!) Being given the opportunity to attend the flyby events and see the first images coming back from Pluto was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

 TE pdf
Download the pdf!
Like all recent Scientists in the Field books, there's a free discussion and activity guide for Mission to Pluto. It includes suggestions for pre-reading, activities to extend learning, and connections to the Common Core standards. Download a free pdf of the teaching guide here

Make me!
If you're looking for more Pluto orientated activities and teaching resources for grades K-12, look no further than the page for educators on New Horizons website. There are lesson plans on everything from parallax and orbits to debating the definition of a planet. Paper models are also available to download and assemble. One of my favorites is this 1/25th scale paper model of New Horizons, available as a printable PDF. (You'll need the instructions, too.) It's packed with information about the spacecraft, too. Enjoy!


  1. "The author’s enthusiasm shines through her clear, conversational narrative." Nice! Can't wait to read it.

  2. Congratulations, Mary Kay!