The Science of Pluto: Great Expectations (Part 3)

An artist’s rendering of Pluto’s surface, with Charon looming large on the horizon. The double-planet Pluto-Charon system, represent the last unexplored frontier of the Solar System, which will be unveiled in all its glory in just a few days from now. Image Credit: National Space Society

“We are living through a remarkably privileged era, […]

The Science of Pluto: The Sails of Charon (Part 2)

An artist’s concept of Charon (at front), with Pluto seen in the background. Equally as fascinating and exciting as Pluto, Charon has sported its own set of intriguing mysteries and unanswered questions, some of which include the exciting possibility for the existence of geyser-like surface eruptions, underground layers of liquid water, and even the […]

After Glitch, New Horizons to Resume Science Operations July 7, Before Pluto Encounter

The newest maps of Pluto, as of two weeks before closest approach. A black and white reflectance map has been combined with a natural color map to produce the map in the center. Four dark patches of about the same size and spacing can also be seen in these and other recent images. Image […]

The Science of Pluto: The Gates of the Planetary Underworld (Part 1)

A computer-generated impression of the view from the surface of Pluto. The Sun looks like a very bright star on the sky (upper right), while Charon, Pluto’s biggest satellite, looms large near the horizon (at left). The scientific study of the Pluto-Charon system, has been one of expanding horizons and increased awareness of our […]

Independence Weekend: Launches, Landings, and Working in Space on the Fourth of July (Part 2)

The Stars and Stripes floats inside the multi-windowed cupola of the International Space Station (ISS). Photo Credit: NASA

“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six … Go for Main Engine Start … ”

It was a familiar preamble from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) launch commentator which closely mirrored the final seconds before each of the […]

'We're Working It, Folks': New Horizons Experiences Communications Loss, Ten Days Out From Pluto

After a 9.5-year voyage across the Solar System, New Horizons is just days away from humanity’s first close-up reconnaissance of the last of the traditionally accepted nine planets. Image Credit: NASA

Less than 10 days and a mere 7.2 million miles (11.6 million km) from its quarry—the dwarf world Pluto, its binary companion Charon, and […]

Independence Weekend: Launches, Landings, and Working in Space on the Fourth of July (Part 1)

 

Thirty-three years ago, today, on 4 July 1982, the crew of STS-4 became the first U.S. astronauts to spend Independence Day in space. It also marked the date of their spectacular return to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Photo Credit: NASA

On the morning of 4 July 1982, a rapidly moving black and white […]

New Horizons Is GO for Best Flight Path to Pluto, Mission Team Determines No Hazards Ahead

These images show the difference between two sets of 48 combined 10-second exposures with New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) camera, taken at 8:40 UTC and 10:25 UTC on June 26, 2015, from a range of 21.5 million kilometers (approximately 13 million miles) to Pluto. The known small moons, Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx, are visible as adjacent bright and dark pairs of dots, due to their motion in the 105 minutes between the two image sets. Credits: NASA/JHU-APL/SwRI

These images show the difference between two sets of 48 combined 10-second exposures with New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) camera, taken at 8:40 UTC and 10:25 UTC on June 26, 2015, from a range of 21.5 million kilometers (approximately 13 million miles) to Pluto. The known small moons, Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and […]

Flying the Friendly Martian Skies: NASA to Test Mars Airplane Prototype

Artist's conception of the Prandtl-m airplane flying above the surface of Mars. Image Credit: NASA Illustration/Dennis Calaba

Artist’s conception of the Prandtl-m airplane flying above the surface of Mars. Image Credit: NASA Illustration/Dennis Calaba

For several decades, Mars has been a busy place, with orbiters, landers, and rovers providing unprecedented views of the Red Planet. Another exciting possibility which has yet to be realized is an airplane, which could soar through […]

Muddy Mars: New Evidence for Liquid Water Flows Within Past Million Years

Illustration of debris flows inside Istok crater on Mars, which have provided evidence of large amounts of flowing water and mud in the past. The flows are very similar to ones on Earth in Arctic regions such as Iceland. Image Credit: Nature Communications

The fact that Mars used to have large amounts of liquid […]