Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Pluto

  • Sublimating nitrogen ice could be cause of polygons in Pluto’s Sputnik Planitia

    Laurel KornfeldJanuary 12th, 2022

    The unusual polygonal features seen in Sputnik Planitia, the left side of Pluto's iconic heart feature known as Tombaugh Regio, could be caused by the sublimation of nitrogen ice, a team of scientists propose in a study published in the journal Nature.

  • Images of Pluto’s dark side produced using reflected sunlight from Charon

    Laurel KornfeldDecember 13th, 2021

    A team of scientists produced images of Pluto's dark side using reflected sunlight from its large moon Charon in images taken by the New Horizons spacecraft to tease out features on that side in low resolution.

  • Pluto’s atmosphere may be starting to condense

    Laurel KornfeldOctober 12th, 2021

    Beginning three years after New Horizons' historic flyby, Pluto's atmosphere appeared to be starting to condense and refreeze, according to scientists.

  • Videos simulate Pluto, Charon flyby; follow up mission proposed

    Laurel KornfeldAugust 1st, 2021

    NASA's New Horizons team released new movies simulating the spacecraft's 2015 flight over Pluto and its large moon Charon to mark the sixth anniversary of the encounter on July 14, 2015.

  • Surface, geology of Pluto studied via opposition observations

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 4th, 2021

    Six years after the New Horizons spacecraft returned close-up images of Pluto, researchers are teasing out more information about its geology and surface.

  • Various icy compounds make up Pluto’s atmospheric haze

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 8th, 2021

    Pluto's famous blue atmospheric haze likely formed differently from the hazes surrounding Saturn's moon Titan and Neptune's moon Triton, study finds.

  • White mountain peaks on Pluto not caused by snow

    Laurel KornfeldOctober 24th, 2020

    Images captured by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during its July 2015 Pluto flyby reveal the small planet to be the only place in the solar system other than Earth to have white-capped mountains.

  • Pluto’s glaciers change with its seasons

    Laurel KornfeldAugust 26th, 2020

    Using data returned by NASA’s New Horizons mission’s July 2015 Pluto flyby, a group of researchers discovered evidence that the dwarf planet’s glaciers expand and grow in response to seasonal changes.

  • Pluto’s subsurface ocean may date back to planet’s formation

    Laurel KornfeldJune 29th, 2020

    Scientists who recently studied the detailed images of Pluto’s surface returned by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft in July 2015 have found evidence that the dwarf planet’s subsurface ocean may have been around since Pluto’s formation over four billion years ago.

  • SOFIA data sheds new light on endurance of Pluto’s atmosphere

    Laurel KornfeldJune 1st, 2020

    Data captured by the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), an airborne observatory that studied Pluto’s atmospheric hazes just two weeks before New Horizons‘ 2015 flyby, indicates the hazes in Pluto’s atmosphere are regularly replenished.

  • Pluto may have deep, ancient underground ocean

    Laurel KornfeldApril 14th, 2020

    Two new studies of data collected by the New Horizons spacecraft during its 2015 Pluto flyby suggest the dwarf planet has a deep subsurface ocean that may have been present all 4.5 billion years of Pluto’s existence.

  • Pluto’s heart feature controls its winds

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 20th, 2020

    Pluto’s iconic heart feature, named Tombaugh Regio, functions as a “beating heart” that controls the small planet’s winds and might even play a role in shaping its surface features.

  • Pluto’s hazy atmosphere is similar to that of Titan

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 2nd, 2020

    Pluto is often compared to Neptune's largest moon Triton, but its hazy atmosphere is actually more akin to that of Saturn's largest moon Titan, which is sometimes viewed as an analog of early Earth.

  • NASA funds study of possible Pluto orbiter

    Laurel KornfeldNovember 4th, 2019

    There's no doubt that NASA's New Horizons mission crushed it. This has emboldened the space agency to take their exploration of the far reaches of our solar system to the next level.

  • New Horizons team releases images of Pluto’s far side

    Laurel KornfeldOctober 30th, 2019

    More than four years after New Horizons' historic July 2015 Pluto flyby, mission scientists have released detailed images of Pluto's far side, which the spacecraft was able to image only in low resolution on approach and following departure.