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This is a novel I would have read some time in the 90s, but which was probably older - I'd guess 70s. I remember a handful of details very clearly, mostly from early in the story, but the overall plot or later developments not at all.

I believe the very opening of the book features one of the main characters on a chartered submersible looking for the wreckage of a spaceship which crashed when returning from a mission to Jupiter. The spaceship was called the Jove. The main character was the captain or pilot of the ship and one of the few survivors of the crash, possibly the only survivor. I clearly remember an exchange between the main character and the pilot of the submersible when the latter realizes which ship they're looking for:

Pilot: "Oh. That Jove."

Main character: "Yes, damn you. That Jove."

I believe two of the other characters are the main character's daughter, and a younger man, who may have been another survivor of the crash, and these two may become a couple. This is the part I'm least certain about, as I could be conflating it with some other story.

The other part I'm sure of is that at some point the characters or others connected to them discover a treatment to prevent aging, which is based on the discovery that aging is fundamentally the accumulation of scar tissue; they find a way to perfectly heal scar tissue (or prevent it from forming), which in turn averts aging. I'm completely certain that the treatment connects aging to scar tissue. I'm then reasonably sure they use this technology to form a small closed conspiracy consisting of their extended family (possibly just referred to as the Family) who monopolize this treatment to manipulate events in secret.

...And that's it; I don't remember what they do with their immortality or what the goal of their conspiracy was, or how the story actually resolves.

I don't remember where or how I came across this book, and it was probably a short, cheap paperback on a random bookshelf in a hotel or similar that I read quickly, put back, and forgot about (except for how some details have stuck with me). I don't recall it being by anyone famous or recognizable, though I would have been young enough that that might just have been my ignorance at the time.

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I'm pretty sure this is The Man Who Wanted Stars, (1965) by Dean McLaughlin.

Sherman nodded. "Friends. Brave men.”
"Dirty luck,” the bathyscaph man said. “What kind of ship was she?"
"It was a space ship, God damn you,” Sherman said.
"Oh. THAT Jove."
"Yes,” Sherman said, bitterly mimicking. "That Jove."
"Then you’re... "Yeah," Sherman said broodingly. “I brought her down."

Link to covers

Roger (Rog) Sherman was the pilot of the Jove, who was forced to crash-land the ship on Earth after the "orbital station" they launched from was defunded, leaving the crew no way to land from Earth orbit. The first parts of the story (originally from 1950s stories) are told from his point of view, up until he crashes Jove in the south Pacific.

At the start of part three the viewpoint character switches to Joe Webber (a former astronaut), who is the main character henceforth. Rog is crippled from the accident, and Joe tries to use his story to restart interest in space.

At some point Webber makes the discovery to restore his youth by cleaning his body of scar tissue and malformed cells. When he is over a hundred, but looking much younger, he introduces his secret to a younger man.

You can read a preview at Google Books.

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  • 2
    I've taken the liberty of adding in a book quote
    – Valorum
    Sep 19 at 8:13
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    That's definitely it! I recognize the cover with the human figure turning into stars, and the detail with the monkey being killed to save weight is also memorable, though I'd forgotten that I remembered it. Thank you - this has bugged me for years.
    – Amanadiel
    Sep 19 at 12:04

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