Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Pluto

  • 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.

  • Second group of names approved for features on Pluto

    Laurel KornfeldOctober 24th, 2019

    A second set of names for features on Pluto, already used informally by members of NASA's New Horizons mission, has received formal approval by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the organization that names celestial objects and their features.

  • OPINION: NASA administrator enters decades-long Pluto debate

    Laurel KornfeldAugust 28th, 2019

    A comment by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine affirming he still considers Pluto to be a planet has drawn criticism from some media outlets that may be motivated more by politics than science. It is also a potential game changer in the decades-long planet debate.

  • Gas layer may be keeping Pluto’s subsurface ocean from freezing

    Laurel KornfeldMay 25th, 2019

    A layer of gas located beneath Pluto's icy shell could be keeping the dwarf planet's subsurface ocean from freezing, according to a new study.

  • Scientists debate planet definition, status of Pluto

    Laurel KornfeldMay 5th, 2019

    Scientists Ron Ekers and Alan Stern debated the planet definition and the status of Pluto in an event sponsored by the Philosophical Society of Washington.

  • New Horizons data indicates small Kuiper Belt Objects are rare

    Laurel KornfeldMarch 3rd, 2019

    The relatively small number of craters NASA's New Horizons spacecraft found on Pluto's moon Charon indicates very small objects are rare in the Kuiper Belt.

  • Ancient subsurface ocean likely source of Charon’s surface ice

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 25th, 2019

    A study of data returned by New Horizons about Pluto's moon Charon indicates its surface ice originated via eruptions of an ancient subsurface ocean.

  • Eternal Ice Age: Unusual ridges near Pluto’s Sputnik Planitia formed by ancient glaciers

    Laurel KornfeldNovember 28th, 2018

    Oddly-shaped ridges located adjacent to Pluto's Sputnik Planitia were created by ancient nitrogen ice glaciers, according to a group of scientists led by the SETI Institute's Oliver White.

  • A single mission could orbit Pluto and explore the Kuiper Belt

    Laurel KornfeldOctober 30th, 2018

    While the New Horizons' mission is still exploring the Kuiper Belt a new mission could accomplish what the spacecraft has - and much more.