Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Solar System

  • Closest Dawn images reveal detailed craters, terrains

    Laurel KornfeldJanuary 16th, 2016

    Orbiting just 240 miles (385 km) above the surface of Ceres, NASA's Dawn spacecraft has captured detailed images of the dwarf planet's craters and various terrains. Kupalo Crater, one of the youngest craters on Ceres, reveals many fascinating attributes at the high image resolution of 120 feet (35 meters) per pixel.

  • New high-resolution images show ice flow on Pluto’s surface

    Laurel KornfeldJanuary 9th, 2016

    The first images released in 2016 of Pluto by NASA's New Horizons mission team show the direction of flowing ice on the dwarf planet's surface, along with terrain patterns that suggest thermal convection is taking place on the icy surface of the area known as Sputnik Planum.

  • New Horizons’ images, animation show Pluto’s surface in stunning detail

    Laurel KornfeldDecember 6th, 2015

    More than four months after its July 14 encounter with Pluto, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has sent back the highest resolution images of the small world's surface featuring layered craters, icy plains, rugged badlands, cliffs, canyons, water ice crust, and icy mountains.

  • Image montages show one full day on Pluto and Charon

    Laurel KornfeldNovember 22nd, 2015

    The team working on NASA's New Horizons mission has released the best images to date of each side of the distant worlds Pluto and Charon taken by the New Horizons spacecraft. The images have been compiled together to illustrate one full day on each of the two icy bodies and come more than four months after the nuclear-powered probe conducted its flyby of the Plutonian system.

  • Geologically active Pluto may have ice volcanoes, subsurface ammonia

    Laurel KornfeldNovember 11th, 2015

    Pluto’s surface may harbor ice volcanoes, and its geological activity could be driven by a subsurface layer of ammonia and water ice, members of the New Horizons team reported at the 47th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences, held this week in National Harbor, Maryland.

  • Young crater discovered on Charon; Pluto crescent image released

    Laurel KornfeldNovember 1st, 2015

    A crater on the Pluto-facing side of Charon is profoundly different from other, older craters on the large moon's surface – its ammonia-rich composition showing it to be unusually young. The crater, informally named Organa, caught the attention of scientists as they were analyzing high-resolution infrared compositional scans of Charon.

  • Cassini makes closest dive into Enceladus’ plumes

    Laurel KornfeldOctober 30th, 2015

    NASA's Cassini spacecraft conducted a daring plunge into the moon's icy plumes on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. The spacecraft flew within 30 miles (50 km) of the moon's surface, taking pictures and collecting samples that the Cassini scientists hope will answer questions about Enceladus' habitability for primitive life.

  • First academic paper presents New Horizons Pluto findings: pits and troughs found on Tombaugh Reggio

    Laurel KornfeldOctober 17th, 2015

    NASA's New Horizons team has published an eight-page academic paper in the October 16 issue of the journal Science. In the paper, the team discusses the New Horizons spacecraft's diverse findings it had discovered when passing through the Pluto system during the vehicle's historic July 14, 2015, flyby.

  • Cassini studies activity on Enceladus in three separate flybys

    Laurel KornfeldOctober 16th, 2015

    NASA's Cassini orbiter is conducting three separate flybys of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus to further study the surprising levels of activity occurring on and below its surface and to obtain images and data that could help scientists determine whether the Saturnian moon could be habitable for microbial life.

  • Hubble portrait of Jupiter captures new changes in Great Red Spot

    Jim SharkeyOctober 15th, 2015

    Scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have produced new maps of Jupiter as part of series of annual portraits of the Solar System's outer planets to analyze how these giant planets change over time. The images of Jupiter have already revealed a previously unseen filament in the core of the Great Red Spot and a rare wave just north of the planet's equator.

  • 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.

  • U.S. and Russia to resume talks on joint mission to Venus

    Tomasz NowakowskiOctober 5th, 2015

    A joint U.S.-Russian mission to Venus that could take place after 2025 is under consideration, according to Lev Zeleny, the director of the Space Research Institute (IKI) in Moscow.

  • Charon: a beautiful world with a violent past

    Laurel KornfeldOctober 3rd, 2015

    This week, newly released data from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has put Pluto's largest moon, Charon, in the spotlight – revealing it to be a colorful and beautiful world that had experienced a violent past.

  • 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.