Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Solar System

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • Fresh crater near Sirenum Fossae region of Mars

    NASAJune 7th, 2015

    The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter acquired this closeup image of a “fresh” (on a geological scale, though quite old on a human scale) impact crater in the Sirenum Fossae region of Mars on March 30, 2015.