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Next Launch GPS IIF-7 on a Atlas V 401 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL scheduled for 1 Aug 14 3:27:00 GMT

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Hubble Discovers Two Potential KBO Targets for NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft, Follows Up With Additional Search

Discovery images of the two Kuiper Belt Objects named 1110113Y and 0720090F respectively, taken with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The image at left shows the first KBO at an estimated distance of approximately 4 billion miles from Earth. Its position noticeably shifts between exposures taken approximately 10 minutes apart. The image at right shows [...]

Hubble Space Telescope Starts Search for Kuiper Belt Objects as New Horizons Races Toward Pluto

An artist’s rendering of the New Horizons spacecraft, encountering a Kuiper Belt Object during its extended mission following its Pluto flyby. The Hubble space telescope has started searching for a suitable KBO so that the spacecraft’s extended mission can take place. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

With the [...]

'Something Wonderful!': Preparing to Illuminate the Realms of the Planetary Underworld—An Interview With Dr. Alan Stern

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). Next year, NASA’s New Horizons mission will replace our artistic impressions of the planet and its moons with [...]

Do Pluto and Charon Share the Same Atmosphere?

Artist’s conception of Pluto and Charon. Image Credit: ESO

Atmospheres are, of course, a common feature of planets and even some moons. Most of the planets in our Solar System and a few moons have their own unique atmospheres, but now there may be evidence for something new: a shared atmosphere between a planet [...]

Comet or Asteroid? Herschel Space Observatory Detects Water Outgassing on Dwarf Planet Ceres

A team of astronomers using ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory have discovered clear signals of water vapour coming off Ceres. Image Credit: ESA/ATG medialab/Küppers et al.

A new study published online in the weekly scientific journal Nature on Jan. 22 reports on observations made by the Herschel Space Observatory of water vapour seen coming out [...]

Knocking On Hades' Door: T-Minus One Year Before NASA's 'New Horizons' Begins Encounter With Pluto

A Hubble Space Telescope image of Pluto and some of its moons. The New Horizons mission is just a year away from providing us with photographs that will greatly surpass the best images of Pluto that Hubble could ever capture. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, H. Weaver (JHU/APL), A. Stern (SwRI), and the HST Pluto [...]

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 [...]

Pluto's Unnamed Moons Given Names by IAU

Two newly discovered moons orbiting Pluto have been given official names by the International Astronomical Union. Image Credit: NASA / STSci

Two of Pluto’s small moons, previously known just as P4 and P5, have been given official names by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Pluto is the god of the underworld in classical mythology, [...]

Undiscovered Country: Of New Horizons and the Kuiper Belt

Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, seen here in an image from the Voyager 2 flyby, is thought to be a captured Kuiper Belt Object. Photo Credit: NASA.

Starting at about the orbit of Neptune and stretching out to roughly 50 astronomical units (1 AU = Earth-Sun distance), or 7.5 billion kilometers from the Sun, is [...]

What Will Dawn Find At Ceres?

The Dawn spacecraft has left Vesta and is currently on its way to Ceres, which it should reach in 2015. Image Credit: NASA

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft was launched September 27, 2007, on a unique  mission: to explore the two most massive objects in the asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres. Propelled by an ion engine, [...]