Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Pluto

  • New Horizons sets flight plan for 2nd target; IAU accepts Pluto system names

    Laurel KornfeldSeptember 9th, 2017

    NASA's New Horizons mission has filed a flight plan for its January 1, 2019, flyby of Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) 2014 MU69, which will bring the spacecraft three times closer to its second target than it came to Pluto during the upcoming encounter.

  • NASA releases New Horizons flyover video

    NASAJuly 15th, 2017

    Using actual New Horizons data and digital elevation models of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, mission scientists have created flyover movies that offer spectacular new perspectives of the many unusual features that were discovered and which have reshaped our views of the Pluto system – from a vantage point even closer than the spacecraft itself.

  • 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.

  • New Horizons reaches halfway mark between Pluto and second target

    Laurel KornfeldApril 6th, 2017

    NASA's New Horizons spacecraft reached the halfway point between Pluto and its second flyby target, KBO 2014 MU69, at midnight UTC on Monday, April 3 (8:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 2) at a distance of 486.19 million miles (782.45 million kilometers) from Pluto and the same distance to MU69.

  • Seven co-investigators join New Horizons team

    Laurel KornfeldMarch 17th, 2017

    In anticipation of New Horizons' flyby of its second target – Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69 – on January 1, 2019, NASA and Principal Investigator Alan Stern have added seven new co-investigators to the mission team.

  • Name themes for Pluto system features approved by IAU

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 26th, 2017

    A set of naming themes for features on Pluto and its five moons, informally used by the New Horizons mission, has been approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), which has overseen the naming of celestial objects and their surface features since 1919.

  • New Horizons posters, studies, to be presented at Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 14th, 2017

    Seven poster sessions and seven studies based on data returned by the New Horizons mission will be presented at the 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, which will be held in The Woodlands, Texas, on March 20–24 of this year (2017).

  • Six New Horizons scientists propose geophysical planet definition

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 8th, 2017

    Six scientists who work on NASA's New Horizons mission propose a geophysical planet definition in an abstract from a presentation to be made at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

  • Pluto’s red regions may have been created by Charon-forming impact

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 3rd, 2017

    The dark red regions around Pluto's equator may have their origins in the giant impact that formed its moon Charon four billion years ago, according to a team of Japanese researchers.

  • New Horizons video simulates Pluto landing; Charon had icy tectonic plates

    Laurel KornfeldJanuary 29th, 2017

    NASA's New Horizons mission team has released a video simulating a landing on Pluto's surface; it is made up of over 100 images taken by the spacecraft during its July 14, 2015, flyby of the dwarf planet.

  • Charon protects Pluto’s atmosphere from solar wind

    Laurel KornfeldJanuary 12th, 2017

    Pluto's largest moon, Charon, acts as a barrier between the solar wind and Pluto's atmosphere, preventing that atmosphere from being stripped away when the large moon is positioned between the Sun and Pluto, according to a new study published in the journal Icarus.

  • Pluto’s bladed terrain has snow, ice features similar to those on Earth

    Laurel KornfeldJanuary 8th, 2017

    Scientists using a computer model, much like those used to study Earth's climate, have identified bowl-shaped ridges in Pluto's bladed or "snakeskin" terrain that resemble similar structures on Earth.

  • Pluto’s subsurface ocean could possibly support primitive life

    Laurel KornfeldDecember 6th, 2016

    A subsurface ocean, and possibly primitive life, may exist beneath Pluto's "Sputnik Planitia" – the western lobe of its iconic 'heart' feature.

  • New theory proposes weather, not impact, produced Pluto’s Sputnik Planitia

    Laurel KornfeldDecember 1st, 2016

    An impacting object might not be the cause of the formation of Sputnik Planitia – the left side of Pluto's now famous 'heart' feature – as previously thought. This is according to a new theory proposed by Douglas Hamilton of the University of Maryland. He argues the basin could have formed as a result of the dwarf planet's spin axis and unusual climate.

  • 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.