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 […]

Scientists Debate How to Search for Life on Europa in New Mission

Jupiter’s ice-covered moon Europa hides a water ocean beneath its surface. A return mission is now planned to help search for evidence of life there. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL

Jupiter’s moon Europa, with its subsurface ocean, is considered by many to be the best place in the Solar System to search for extraterrestrial life. With NASA […]

New Horizons Message Initiative Hopes to Send Self-Portrait of Humanity to the Stars

Image Credit: New Horizons Message Initiative (www.newhorizonsmessage.com)

To date, all four of the spacecraft NASA has blasted into the unknown depths of the outer Solar System have carried some kind of message from Earth to the stars. Pioneers 10 and 11, as well as Voyager 1 and 2, all carry an interstellar message from […]

Hubble Breaks Record in Search for Farthest Supernova

Since its inaugural deployment from the shuttle in April 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has peered deeper into the cosmos than ever before in human history. The recent discovery of Supernova SN Wilson—more than 10 billion years old—refines scientists’ yardstick for the age of the Universe. Photo Credit: NASA

More than two decades since […]

Messenger Spacecraft Finds Evidence of Ice on Planet Closest to Sun

Shown in red are areas of Mercury’s north polar region that are constantly in shadow in every image that the MESSENGER spacecraft has acquired to date. These areas are rich in water ice, despite the planet’s close proximity to the sun. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington/National Astronomy and […]

A Mission Ahead of its TiME?

One of the missions not selected under NASA’s Discovery Program was the Titan Mare Explorer or TiME. This mission would have seen the first “ship” cruise on an alien sea. Image Credit: The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Lockheed Martin

There was more than a little outcry over the selection of the InSight mission […]

New Horizons to Encounter KBO Ahead of Pluto Flyby

This is an artist’s depiction of New Horizons encountering a Kuiper Belt Object. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

According to the New Horizons’ twitter feed, @NewHorizons2015, and Principal Investigator Alan Stern, the New Horizons probe will make a long-range encounter with a Kuiper Belt Object in January 2015. The […]

RBSP Rides ULA Atlas V to 'Storm' Heaven's Secrets

Photo Credit: Mike Killian – ARES Institute / AmericaSpace

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — NASA’s twin Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) satellites slowly, steadily rode a Atlas V 401 launch vehicle to orbit Saturday, Aug. 30 at 4:05 a.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41). This is the second scientific mission launched […]

Hubble Images Reveal Pluto’s Fifth Moon

Pluto and the Kuiper Belt Region of our solar system is proving to be a dynamic environment that is far more diverse than previously thought. The discovery of a fifth moon orbiting Pluto is serving to increase this perception. The discovery was made by the Hubble Space Telescope and announced on July 11, 2012. […]

Adam Riess Awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics

Nobel Prize Winner Adam Riess, Photo Credit: Steve Spartana

Adam Riess has many titles: astrophysicist, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor in Physics and Astronomy at The Johns Hopkins University, scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, and now a Nobel Prize winner. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Riess and University of California, Berkeley astrophysicist Saul […]