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 […]

Pluto Slowly Transitions From Astronomical Point Source to Fascinating World in Latest Images From New Horizons

Pluto is revealed as a fascinating planetary world in these latest images that were taken by New Horizons spacecraft between May 29-June 2. The images show four different “faces” of Pluto as it rotates about its axis with a period of 6.4 days. All the images have been rotated to align Pluto’s rotational axis […]

New 'Year of Pluto' Documentary Details Historic New Horizons Mission and Upcoming July Flyby

An artist’s illustration of New Horizons as it approaches the Pluto system for its close encounter at 35,000 mph on July 14, 2015. NASA has released a new documentary, Year of Pluto, as the anticipation builds toward the spacecraft’s historic encounter this summer. Image Credit: NASA

The anticipation is building among the space and […]

New Horizon's Best Images of Pluto Yet Reveal Terrain and Possible Polar Ice Cap

New Horizons LORRI Optical Navigation Campaign 3, showing a full orbit of the dwarf planet’s moon Charon around Pluto, as well as a full rotation of Pluto itself. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

NASA’s nuclear-powered New Horizons spacecraft has turned Pluto from an astronomy object with just a pinpoint […]

Living On the Edge: In the Realm of the Ice Giants (Part 5)

An artist’s concept of Neptune as seen from the surface of its largest moon Triton. Could this distant cold moon harbor an underground habitat for life in the outer reaches of the Solar System approximately 4.5 billion km from the Sun? Image Credit: Wikipedia

“Four happy days bring in Another moon; but O, […]

Living On the Edge: The Inviting Waters of Europa (Part 2)

Jupiter’s moon Europa, as seen by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. A long line of evidence has shown that Europa has an underground ocean of liquid water, which for many scientists constitutes the best place in the Solar System to search for alien life. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk

“Since ’tis certain that Earth and Jupiter have […]

Surprise Discovery: Rings Around an Asteroid!

Artist’s conception of the asteroid Chariklo with its ring system. Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser/Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org)

When it comes to planetary rings, what do you think of? Saturn is the first obvious thing that comes to mind, with its famous majestic ring system surrounding the gas giant planet. The other gas and ice […]

New 'Clipper' Mission Proposed to Study Europa's Ocean

Jupiter’s moon Europa, an ice-covered waterworld. Could life exist there?Photo Credit: NASA / JPL / Ted Stryk.

Jupiter’s moon Europa is often referred to as a “waterworld,” and for good reason: a global ocean almost definitely exists below its outer icy crust, making it a primary focus of interest in the search for life […]