Back to the Ice Giants: Proposed New Mission Would Re-Visit Uranus or Neptune (or Both!)

Uranus (left) and Neptune (right). These two ice giants and their many moons are awaiting further exploration. Image Credit: NASA

Uranus (left) and Neptune (right). These two ice giants and their many moons are awaiting further exploration. Image Credit: NASA

The outer Solar System has been a busy place lately, with the ongoing Cassini mission at Saturn and New Horizons’ recent spectacular flyby of Pluto. Literally in-between those two worlds, however, it has been […]

New Study Suggests Abundance of Nitrogen on Pluto May Be Due to Cryovolcanism

A spectacular image of Pluto's atmosphere backlit by the Sun, taken during New Horizons' closest approach to Pluto on July 14. The bright halo of Pluto's atmosphere is caused by the scattering of sunlight from nitrogen, a compound that dominates the planet's atmosphere. A new study suggests that the source of all this nitrogen might be cryovolcanism on the distant planet. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

A spectacular image of Pluto’s atmosphere backlit by the Sun, taken during New Horizons’ closest approach to Pluto on July 14. The bright halo of Pluto’s atmosphere is caused by the scattering of sunlight from nitrogen, a compound that dominates the planet’s atmosphere. A new study suggests that the source of all this nitrogen […]

Dawn En Route to Third Science Orbit, New Maps Reveal Astonishing Peaks and Depths

Dawn is using its ion propulsion system to lower its orbit to within 1,000 miles of the dwarf planet Ceres. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Each time dawn appears, the mystery is there in its entirety.” — Rene Daumal

While astronaut Scott Kelly’s “Year in Space” mission helps researchers understand the effects of long-duration […]

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 […]

New Spectacular Images of Pluto From New Horizons Reveal an Exotic, Dynamic World

A breathtaking, dramatic image of Pluto backlit by the distant Sun, taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft a few hours after its closest approach, on July 14, while at a distance of 2 million km away from the planet. Besides its unparalleled aesthetic quality, this image provided scientists with important information about the structure […]

New Petition Aims to Restore Pluto's Planetary Status

A breathtaking montage of Pluto and Charon, assembled from separate images that were taken on July 13 and 14 from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, as the latter was making its historic close fly by of the distant dwarf planet and its system of moons. New Horizons’ highly successful mission has provided a new thrust […]

Historic First Close-Ups From New Horizons Reveals Dramatic Worlds Billions of Miles Away

Pluto’s largest moon Charon (left) has a surprising youthful and varied terrain, with cliffs, troughs, and a dark marking nicknamed “Mordor” in the moon’s north polar region. New close-up images of a region near Pluto’s equator (right) reveal a giant surprise: a range of youthful mountains rising as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) […]

New Horizons Phones Home After Historic Pluto Flyby, World Awaits First Close-Up Images

The New Horizons mission team celebrates New Horizons' closest approach to Pluto at 7:49 a.m. EDT on July 14, 2015. Photo Credit: Elliot Severn / AmericaSpace

The New Horizons mission team celebrates New Horizons’ closest approach to Pluto at 7:49 a.m. EDT on July 14, 2015. Photo Credit: Elliot Severn / AmericaSpace

Throughout most of human history the worlds we share our solar system with were nothing more than points of light in the night sky, observed by astronomers for […]

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 […]

The Women Behind the New Horizons Mission and New Pluto Map

The women of the New Horizons team, photographed at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory on July 11, 2015, just three days before the spacecraft’s closest approach to Pluto. Kneeling from left to right: Amy Shira Teitel, Cindy Conrad, Sarah Hamilton, Allisa Earle, Leslie Young, Melissa Jones, Katie Bechtold, Becca Sepan, Kelsi Singer, Amanda […]