Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Kuiper Belt

  • New Horizons exits hibernation to prepare for KBO flyby

    Laurel KornfeldJune 9th, 2018

    NASA's New Horizons probe has been awakened from nearly six months in hibernation to enable the mission team to start preparations for its flyby of Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) Ultima Thule (also known as 2014 MU69) in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2019.

  • New Horizons’ next target nicknamed Ultima Thule

    Laurel KornfeldMarch 16th, 2018

    Following a public naming campaign that drew 115,000 participants, NASA's New Horizons team has selected the name Ultima Thule for the spacecraft's second target, Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) 2014 MU69, which the probe is scheduled to fly past on New Year's Day 2019.

  • New Horizons breaks Voyager 1’s record for most distant images from Earth

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 10th, 2018

    NASA's New Horizons spacecraft broke yet another record by capturing the most distant images from Earth, photographing an open star cluster along with several dwarf planets, Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and centaurs with its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI).

  • Tidal heating could sustain dwarf planets’ subsurface oceans

    Laurel KornfeldDecember 17th, 2017

    Icy dwarf planets in the Kuiper Belt could maintain subsurface liquid oceans if they have moons that generate tidal heating, thereby preventing the oceans from freezing, according to a new study published in the journal Icarus.

  • 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.