Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Alan Stern

  • Pluto has blue hazes and surface water ice

    Laurel KornfeldOctober 9th, 2015

    NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has revealed the first color images of Pluto's atmospheric hazes showing that its sunrises and sunsets are colored blue, according to recent data received last week. The spacecraft has also revealed small regions of exposed water ice on Pluto's surface.

  • Latest Pluto images show bizarre landscapes, vivid colors

    Laurel KornfeldSeptember 26th, 2015

    Every image of Pluto sent back by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has both thrilled and perplexed scientists. The latest images – returned on September 19 and 20 – are eliciting the same responses in their high-resolution depictions of the dwarf planet's unusual landscapes and vivid colors.

  • Stunning images of Pluto backlit thrill scientists, viewers

    Laurel KornfeldSeptember 18th, 2015

    New panoramic images of Pluto backlit by the Sun, taken only 15 minutes after New Horizons' closest approach on July 14, are thrilling scientists and viewers with stunning details of the dwarf planet's diverse terrains, some of which are surprisingly Earth-like.

  • New Pluto images reveal stunningly diverse terrains, atmosphere

    Laurel KornfeldSeptember 12th, 2015

    NASA’s New Horizons has sent back the first in its yearlong downlink of high-resolution images and data from its July 14, 2015, flyby of Pluto. The data, sent from Sept. 5 to 7, revealed a stunning diversity of terrains and a many-layered atmosphere that are leaving scientists in awe.

  • 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).

  • Sci-Fi names given to features on Pluto and Charon

    Laurel KornfeldAugust 7th, 2015

    Names of people and places from popular science fiction franchises are informally being given to features on Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, by the New Horizons team. Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who, Robotech, H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, and mythology are all represented in monikers chosen for craters on Charon.

  • Powerful technology carries New Horizons through the Solar System

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 28th, 2015

    Due to the Plutonian system’s distance from the Sun, solar power was never an option for the spacecraft visiting it. Solar panels, which convert sunlight into electricity, would not receive enough of the Sun’s light from a distance of three billion miles. This meant that mission planners had to be creative.

  • 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 flyby spurs new petition for planetary status

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 23rd, 2015

    On July 14, 2015, the day that NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft conducted its historic flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto, the producers of Yahoo’s web TV show “Other Space” published a petition on the advocacy site seeking the reinstatement of Pluto’s planetary status. This is just the latest step in a back-and-forth battle to determine what a planet is.

  • New Horizons conducts historic Pluto flyby

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 15th, 2015

    At 7:49 a.m. EDT (12:49 GMT), July 14, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made its closest approach to the Pluto system, flying within 7,750 miles (12,472 km) of Pluto’s surface. At the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, more than a thousand people, including APL employees, mission team members, guests, and media […]

  • 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’ final approach images show surface geology on Pluto

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 12th, 2015

    With just days left until its historic Pluto flyby, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is taking and sending back images that reveal Pluto to be a geologically complex world. Fuzzy, blurry images are being replaced by sharper ones showing distinct surface features – to the delight of mission scientists.

  • New Horizons releases best Pluto images as encounter officially begins

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 8th, 2015

    NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft returned to normal science operations on Tuesday, July 7, the first official day of its long-anticipated Pluto encounter mode, with all of its seven instruments now active. In the early hours of July 8, on its second official day of the encounter, mission scientists received this latest picture of Pluto, featured above, […]

  • 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 takes first color images of Pluto and Charon

    Laurel KornfeldApril 25th, 2015

    Using the Ralph color imager, one of its seven sophisticated instruments, New Horizons took its first color images of Pluto and Charon on April 9. The images were released on April 14, exactly three months before the spacecraft’s planned flyby of the Pluto system and its tiny moons. These tantalizing images are just the teaser […]