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The Mission : A True Story
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The Mission : A True Story

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The Mission
Author(s): David W. Brown

“Exceptionally absorbing and thrilling. ... Masterful.” —Nature

A "magnificent" (Scientific American), 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.

"Scientists believe that any extraterrestrial life in our solar system would most likely be found on Europa, a moon of Jupiter. This book chronicles the work of a tenacious team of researchers who have spent decades investigating that possibility, despite obstacles both bureaucratic (NASA’s long-standing preoccupation with Mars) and physical: Europa lies within a 'pulsing, rippling' belt of radiation and is covered by an ice shell 'kilometers thicker than any hole ever drilled on earth.'"
 “Exceptionally absorbing and thrilling. ... This is a book celebrating the resilience and perseverance of a group of smart people who worked relentlessly to make a Europa mission a reality. ... The story up to here is worth being told, and The Mission does it masterfully.”
“Magnificent. ... This book cannot answer the question of what—if anything—lurks in Europa's dark abyss, but it masterfully reveals with remarkable clarity what lies within the hearts of the men and women determined to find out.”
“Brown is a nimble, gifted writer, downright Dickensian in his pointed descriptions and irreverent humor… Brown’s language drew me in to the world of interplanetary science and made me a part of it. The Europa Clipper mission is scheduled to launch in 2024 and, thanks to The Mission, I will be looking up, dreaming of Europa’s oceans, and those plumes, and waiting for news of what we find there.”
The Mission reads almost like a novel. Brown immersed himself in the lives of his characters and their work, coming away from his research with a richly realized story about fascinating characters."
“In The Mission, David W Brown tells the remarkable story of the team of scientists whose determination made the Europa Clipper mission happen, despite resistance from all quarters.”
"With deftness and vigor, David W. Brown brings to life the intricate science, the historical heft and, most exquisitely, the beating hearts at the center of his sprawling, immersive story. With rich characters, an epic struggle and a Herculean resolve, The Mission is an extraordinary tale, extraordinarily told."
“Europa is the sparkly jewel of the Jupiter system and learning its mysteries is a delight, but it's the people and their dreams and their stories that shine in The Mission. David W. Brown deftly weaves together the science, the history, and the politics to write the definitive account of one of NASA’s most exciting upcoming missions.”

“This is an epic, delicious, funny yet serious and inspiring account of the tortuous bureaucratic and engineering journey to send a robotic mission to Jupiter's icy moon Europa. For those of us who believe the search for extraterrestrial life is the most thrilling exploration of our lifetime, this is the book to read.”
"Absolutely riveting from the very first page. David W. Brown is a beautiful writer who brings this incredible story to life in sharp, surprising prose. It is a true pleasure to read."

ISBN:  9780062654427