Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Kuiper Belt

  • 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) […]

  • New Horizons team planning on resuming science on July 7

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 6th, 2015

    Following an hour and twenty-minute glitch during which contact between NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft and Earth was lost, members of the mission team are working around the clock to restore normal function. The issues with the spacecraft that is rapidly approaching its primary target occurred in the late hours of July 4. By the next day, […]

  • New Horizons team responds to spacecraft anomaly

    NASAJuly 5th, 2015

    The New Horizons spacecraft experienced an anomaly [on] the afternoon of July 4 that led to a loss of communication with Earth. Communication has since been reestablished and the spacecraft is healthy.

  • New Horizons starts first phase of Pluto encounter

    Laurel KornfeldJanuary 19th, 2015

    NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft began the first of several phases of its historic rendezvous with Pluto on Thursday, Jan. 15, exactly six months before its closest approach to the small planet. This early phase, after nine years and three billion miles of travel across the solar system, marks the beginning of optical navigation, when the spacecraft will, […]

  • New Horizons awakens from final hibernation

    Laurel KornfeldDecember 7th, 2014

    From a distance of 2.9 billion miles across the vastness of the solar system, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft confirmed Dec. 6 that it successfully awakened from its 19th and final hibernation. At 9:28 p.m. EST (0230 GMT), after waiting nearly four and a half hours for the signal to travel to Earth, mission controllers at the Johns […]