Haze Detected Above Mystery Bright Spots on Ceres

The brightest of the bright spots on Ceres, in Occator crater. Haze detected above them may help scientists determine if they are made of ice, salts or something else. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

The intriguing bright spots on dwarf planet/asteroid Ceres have been fascinating the public and scientists alike for the past few months, and […]

In Just a Few Hours, New Horizons Will Fulfill Its Destiny With First Up-Close Exploration of Pluto

On July 11, 2015, New Horizons captured a world that is growing more fascinating by the day. For the first time on Pluto, this view reveals linear features that may be cliffs, as well as a circular feature that could be an impact crater. Rotating into view is the bright heart-shaped feature that will be seen in more detail during New Horizons’ closest approach on July 14. The annotated version includes a diagram indicating Pluto’s north pole, equator, and central meridian. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

A portrait from the final approach. Pluto and Charon display striking color and brightness contrast in this composite image from July 11, showing high-resolution black-and-white LORRI images colorized with Ralph data collected from the last rotation of Pluto. Color data being returned by the spacecraft now will update these images, bringing color contrast into […]

Two Days Prior to Closest Approach New Horizons Images Pluto's Charon-Facing Hemisphere for the Last Time

Pluto’s Charon-facing hemisphere, as seen by the New Horizons spacecraft for the last time on july 11, from a distance of 4 million km away. The image clearly shows newly-resolved linear features above the equatorial region that intersect, suggestive of polygonal shapes. Image Credit/Caption: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

With just two days remaining before New Horizons zips […]

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 […]

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 […]

Flight Plan for New Horizons' Historic Pluto Flyby Uploaded to Spacecraft as Surface Details Begin to Emerge

New Horizons scientists combined the latest black and white map of Pluto’s surface features (left) with a map of the planet’s colors (right) to produce a detailed color portrait of the planet’s northern hemisphere (center). Photo Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

New Horizons scientists combined the latest black-and-white map of Pluto’s surface features (left) with a map of the planet’s colors (right) to produce a detailed color portrait of the planet’s northern hemisphere (center). Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

New Horizons is now just 11 days from its historic flyby exploration of the Pluto system, some three billion miles […]

On the Final Path: New Horizons Executes Last Course Correction Maneuver Prior to Pluto Closest Approach

Flight controllers in the New Horizons Mission Operations Center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, monitor data from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on June 30, after a short course-correction maneuver refined New Horizons path toward a flyby of Pluto on July 14. Image Credit/Caption: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

With just under two weeks remaining before New Horizons flies through the Pluto system on July 14, the spacecraft has successfuly executed its last scheduled course correction maneuver, which put it right on top of the mission’s intended trajectory through the Pluto system. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

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More Details on Pluto and Charon Emerge in Latest Images as New Horizons Begins Approach Phase 3

A series of images of Pluto, taken by New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, or LORRI, showing numerous large-scale features on the distant planet's surface. These images are displayed at four times the native LORRI image size, and have been processed using a method called deconvolution, which sharpens the original images to enhance features on Pluto. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

A series of images of Pluto, taken by New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, or LORRI, showing numerous large-scale features on the distant planet’s surface. These images are displayed at four times the native LORRI image size, and have been processed using a method called deconvolution, which sharpens the original images to enhance features […]

New Horizons Delivers First Color Images of Pluto System From 30 Million Miles Away

A color animation of Pluto and Charon, assembled from a series of images that were taken with New Horizons' onboard Multi-spectral Visible Imaging Camera, or MVIC, between May 29-June 3. This specific view shows the Pluto-Charon system from a Pluto-centric point of view, with Pluto positioned at the center of the frame and Charon slowly revolving around it. Pluto's north pole is at the top. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

A color animation of Pluto and Charon, assembled from a series of images that were taken with New Horizons’ onboard Multi-spectral Visible Imaging Camera, or MVIC, between May 29-June 3. This specific view shows the Pluto-Charon system from a Pluto-centric point of view, with Pluto positioned at the center of the frame and Charon […]