Just Days Before Historic New Horizons Flyby, SOFIA Makes Observations of Pluto

From NASA: "Image is an artist's conception of the Pluto occultation seen close-up, not a photo." NASA's SOFIA jetliner recently observed Pluto during an occultation, prior to New Horizons' historic flyby. Image Credit: NASA

From NASA: “Image is an artist’s conception of the Pluto occultation seen close-up, not a photo.” NASA’s SOFIA jetliner recently observed Pluto during an occultation event, prior to New Horizons’ historic flyby. Image Credit: NASA

In a year brimming with ongoing discoveries about distant, unknown worlds, including the Solar System’s planets and a comet, […]

New Color Images Show 'Two Faces' of Pluto and Odd Dark Spots Along Equator

New color images of Pluto sent back by New Horizons showing two different "faces" or hemispheres of the dwarf planet and its largest moon Charon. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

New color images of Pluto sent back by New Horizons showing two different “faces” or hemispheres of the dwarf planet and its largest moon Charon. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

First there were the unusual bright spots on Ceres, which are still awaiting an explanation, and now as New […]

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 […]

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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Two Weeks to Pluto: New Horizons and New Perspectives (Part 2)

Technicians working on the New Horizons spacecraft in the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The black shape of the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) is clearly visible at left. Photo Credit: NASA/KSC

Sixteen days from now, the first robotic emissary from Earth will encounter the dwarf world Pluto, its […]

Two Weeks to Pluto: New Horizons and New Perspectives (Part 1)

A timeline detailing New Horizons long journey to Pluto. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

The “Month of Pluto” is now upon us, as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft—launched atop an Atlas V 551 booster from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., way back in January 2006—enters the final two weeks […]

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 […]

Three Weeks to Pluto: A World of Tiny Moons and Missed Mission Opportunities (Part 2)

An artist’s concept of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during its closest approach to Pluto and Charon on 14 July. This spacecraft is the only successful outcome in a long line of unrealized missions to Pluto. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

When a Kansan farmboy-turned-astronomer named Clyde Tombaugh discovered […]

Three Weeks to Pluto: A World of Tiny Moons and Missed Mission Opportunities (Part 1)

An artist’s depiction of Pluto, as seen from the surface of its largest moon, Charon. Image Credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)

Three weeks now remain before NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft—launched in January 2006—sweeps past the dwarf world Pluto, its large binary companion Charon, and at least four tiny moons, reaching the climax […]

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 […]