Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Solar System

  • New Pluto maps released; Pluto’s interaction with the solar wind found to be unique

    Laurel KornfeldMay 6th, 2016

    With about half of New Horizons' flyby data now returned, the mission team has released a new, updated global map of Pluto and a new elevation map depicting the "sunken" terrain of Sputnik Planum.

  • Halo craters on Pluto pose a mystery; NASA media liaison relives the flyby

    Laurel KornfeldApril 26th, 2016

    Pluto's surface seems to have an endless array of mysterious features, the latest being craters that appear to be surrounded by bright halos on the far west of New Horizons' encounter side.

  • New Horizons mission extension submitted to NASA; images of Pluto’s hazes show new detail

    Laurel KornfeldApril 21st, 2016

    As NASA's New Horizons probe reached the halfway mark in sending back data from July's Pluto flyby, members of the mission team submitted an extended mission proposal to NASA outlining a close flyby of a small Kuiper Belt Object on New Year's Day 2019.

  • Strange fractures seen on Pluto’s surface; study considers feasibility of orbiter

    Laurel KornfeldApril 12th, 2016

    Yet another strange feature appears on Pluto's surface in the latest New Horizons data sent back to Earth, as several fractures that converge at a central point result in an image resembling a giant spider.

  • New Horizons’ images show Pluto’s snakeskin terrain in 3-D

    Laurel KornfeldApril 3rd, 2016

    The mission team of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has released a 3-D stereo image of Pluto's "snakeskin" or bladed terrain, located to the east of the Tombaugh Regio heart-shaped area.

  • Pluto may once have harbored liquid nitrogen lakes

    Laurel KornfeldMarch 29th, 2016

    NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has returned images of branching channels and a feature that appears to be a frozen lake suggesting that liquids may have once flowed on the surface of a much 'warmer' Pluto millions or billions of years ago when it had a higher atmospheric pressure than now.

  • Science articles discuss wonders, complexity of Pluto system

    Laurel KornfeldMarch 22nd, 2016

    Five articles published in the March 18 issue of the journal Science present a comprehensive view of the Pluto system based on all data sent back by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft over the last eight months.

  • “Bite mark” on Pluto’s surface likely caused by sublimation

    Laurel KornfeldMarch 15th, 2016

    An odd feature on Pluto's western hemisphere eerily resembling a bite mark is missing the surface methane characteristic of surrounding terrain, according to compositional images created from those taken by New Horizons' Ralph/Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) instrument.

  • Geological map of Pluto’s surface allows scientists to trace its history

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 15th, 2016

    NASA's New Horizons mission scientists have created a geological map of Pluto's surface that provides key insights into its varied terrains and how they formed and evolved over time.

  • New Horizons could help us locate possible planets beyond Neptune

    Tomasz NowakowskiFebruary 10th, 2016

    The recent discovery of evidence of a giant planet lurking in the outskirts of the Solar System made by Caltech astronomers has re-ignited the discussion about the existence of planets beyond Neptune. We could be really on the verge of confirming the presence of a hypothetical ‘Planet Nine’ and NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, our messenger to Pluto and trans-Neptunian objects might have the final word in this debate.

  • New infrared images reveal Pluto’s water ice, blue atmosphere

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 1st, 2016

    Infrared images taken by New Horizons' Ralph/Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) instrument released this week show plentiful water ice on Pluto's surface as well as new details of its otherworldly, layered blue atmosphere.

  • Animation shows Ceres’ colors, terrains, 215 years after discovery

    Laurel KornfeldJanuary 31st, 2016

    Using images taken by the Dawn spacecraft, members of the mission's framing camera team created an animation simulating the various features and terrains that a viewer would see if he or she actually had the opportunity to fly over Ceres.

  • Curiosity’s study of Martian sands halted due to anomaly

    Jim SharkeyJanuary 29th, 2016

    As NASA's Curiosity rover studies an active sand dune, it is adding some sample-handling procedures not previously used on Mars. Sand from the second and third that the rover is scooping from "Namib Dune" will be sorted by grain size using two sieves, employing its coarser sieve for the first time.

  • 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.

  • On anniversary of launch, New Horizons returns hi-res images of Pluto’s haze, possible cryovolcano

    Laurel KornfeldJanuary 19th, 2016

    NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has sent back the highest resolution images yet of Pluto's layered blue atmospheric haze and of a large mountain suspected by scientists to be a cryovolcano.