Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Kuiper Belt

  • Public invited to vote on nicknames for New Horizons’ next target

    Laurel KornfeldNovember 8th, 2017

    With just a little over a year remaining until New Horizons' flyby of 2014 MU69, NASA is asking the public for help in choosing a nickname for the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO).

  • Planetary scientists explore possible Kuiper Belt follow-up mission

    Laurel KornfeldMay 8th, 2017

    Less than two years after the New Horizons spacecraft's historic Pluto flyby, a group of planetary scientists is taking the first steps toward a second mission to the Kuiper Belt.

  • Evidence mounts for subsurface ocean on Pluto

    Laurel KornfeldNovember 17th, 2016

    Three new studies based on data returned by New Horizons add to existing evidence that Pluto harbors a subsurface ocean. The studies focus on the very bright Sputnik Planitia, the left side of Tombaugh Regio and Pluto's iconic "heart", which featured prominently in the first photos returned during the July 2015 flyby.

  • Pluto’s mountains have methane snowcaps, New Horizons images Quaoar

    Laurel KornfeldSeptember 6th, 2016

    Snowcaps similar to those on Earth are visible in the southernmost region at the left of Pluto's encounter hemisphere, according to the latest images sent back by New Horizons. However, unlike the water-ice caps of Earth, these are composed of methane.

  • Dwarf planet with eccentric orbit discovered in the Kuiper Belt

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 13th, 2016

    Astronomers working on a study of the orbital structure and history of the outer Solar System announced their discovery of a new dwarf planet beyond Pluto in a 700-year eccentric solar orbit.

  • Pluto’s atmosphere studied during stellar occultation; New Horizons images distant KBO

    Laurel KornfeldMay 19th, 2016

    NASA's New Horizons mission continues to send back valuable information about the Pluto system even as the spacecraft begins taking its first images of a more distant Kuiper Belt Object (KBO).

  • New Horizons mission extension submitted to NASA; images of Pluto’s hazes show new detail

    Laurel KornfeldApril 21st, 2016

    As NASA's New Horizons probe reached the halfway mark in sending back data from July's Pluto flyby, members of the mission team submitted an extended mission proposal to NASA outlining a close flyby of a small Kuiper Belt Object on New Year's Day 2019.

  • Alan Stern outlines New Horizons’ extended mission at Planetary Science Conference

    Michael ColeMarch 24th, 2016

    HOUSTON, Texas — Alan Stern, primary investigator of the New Horizons mission to Pluto, laid out the future of the mission in an address to the 47th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas, on Monday, March 21.

  • Methane snow visible on Pluto’s mountaintops; clouds seen in atmosphere

    Laurel KornfeldMarch 7th, 2016

    Individual clouds in Pluto's atmosphere and bright regions of methane snow on the small world's mountaintops in the area known as Cthulhu Regio are visible in the latest images and data sent back by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft.

  • New Horizons could help us locate possible planets beyond Neptune

    Tomasz NowakowskiFebruary 10th, 2016

    The recent discovery of evidence of a giant planet lurking in the outskirts of the Solar System made by Caltech astronomers has re-ignited the discussion about the existence of planets beyond Neptune. We could be really on the verge of confirming the presence of a hypothetical ‘Planet Nine’ and NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, our messenger to Pluto and trans-Neptunian objects might have the final word in this debate.

  • Scientists find evidence of ‘Planet Nine’

    Jim SharkeyJanuary 22nd, 2016

    Two scientists from Caltech have discovered evidence of a giant planet with a bizarre, elongated orbit in the outer Solar System. The object, dubbed "Planet Nine" by the scientists, has a mass of about 10 times that of Earth and orbits the Sun at an average distance of approximately 20 times farther away than does Neptune; it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make one orbit around the Sun.

  • KBO selected for New Horizons’ second target

    Laurel KornfeldAugust 31st, 2015

    Only a month and a half after New Horizons' historic Pluto system flyby, the mission team has selected a potential target for the spacecraft's second visit – the tiny Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) 2014 MU69, also known as "PT 1" (Potential Target 1). Orbiting almost a billion miles beyond Pluto, 2014 MU69 is estimated to have a diameter slightly under 30 miles (45 km).

  • Pluto surprises scientists with atmospheric haze and flowing ice

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 24th, 2015

    Pluto’s complex surface geology and unusual atmosphere continue to baffle scientists almost two weeks after the spacecraft’s closest approach to Pluto as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft returns data from the historic July 14, 2015, flyby. Images taken by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), released at a press conference on Friday, July 24, show evidence […]

  • Pluto found bigger than previously thought as excitement builds over flyby

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 14th, 2015

    On the eve of New Horizons’ historic Pluto flyby, the decades-long question of Pluto’s size has finally been answered: Pluto is larger than previously thought – it has a diameter of 1,478 miles (2,370 km). The finding comes from images taken by the spacecraft’s Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI). It means Pluto is the largest known […]

  • New Horizons reveals striking features on Charon

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 13th, 2015

    Charon has got its turn in New Horizons’ spotlight on July 11, with its latest images showing striking features, revealing the large moon to be a geologically active world. Its surface is pockmarked with chasms and craters, evidence that the small world has undergone faulting and surface disruption, according to Geology and Geophysics Investigation team (GGI) […]