The Asteroid Hunter: A Scientist’s Journey to the Dawn of our Solar System by Dante S. Lauretta; Grand Central Publishing & Hachette Book Group (2024); 336 pages; Hardcover: $30.00

It is not often that a 21st century author is a milestone-making participant that digs billions of years into the past to further the future.

Dante Lauretta is a cosmic “rock hound.” And this book is far from being a tell-all tale of his stellar leadership in the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer mission, mercifully shortened to OSIRIS-REx.

The Asteroid Hunter is a story of his personal quest in shaping a remarkable scientific career. This very enjoyable, insightful and moving volume is must reading for all that hunger to understand the rough and tumble cosmos at large – along with the delicate nature and audacity of human spirit necessary to tangle with the unknown.

Launched in 2016, OSIRIS-REx reached asteroid Bennu in September 1999, then performed snag, stash, and send-off maneuvers, express delivering those space rock specimens to Earth on Sept. 24, 2023.

Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx’s principal investigator from the University of Arizona holds a mock up of the asteroid collection device – TAGSAM.
Image credit: Barbara David

OSIRIS-REx released its capsule of extraterrestrial goodies over Earth’s atmosphere. That container then parachuted into the Department of Defense’s Utah Test and Training Range as the OSIRIS-REx team – and the author — was on location to welcome it home.

That voyage to asteroid Bennu and back to our planet took seven years. OSIRIS-REx was the first U.S. mission to collect a sample from an asteroid and deliver it to Earth. And that space trek alone – proposing, building, and flying the craft — is a tale in itself.

Starting in 2011, Lauretta served as the principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission. But he offers so much more in this well-written, cleaver and personal prose of a story.

A reader will find his professional and personal memoir instructive. Indeed, as Lauretta notes “the universe is our classroom, our laboratory, our muse” and that “our journey of exploration has only just begun.”

For more information on this remarkable book, go to:

BTW: go to the Amazon offerings to hear the author read a section of the book at:

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