Flight Plan for New Horizons' Historic Pluto Flyby Uploaded to Spacecraft as Surface Details Begin to Emerge

New Horizons scientists combined the latest black and white map of Pluto’s surface features (left) with a map of the planet’s colors (right) to produce a detailed color portrait of the planet’s northern hemisphere (center). Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

New Horizons scientists combined the latest black-and-white map of Pluto’s surface features (left) with a map of the planet’s colors (right) to produce a detailed color portrait of the planet’s northern hemisphere (center). Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

New Horizons is now just 11 days from its historic flyby exploration of the Pluto system, some three billion miles […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Four Weeks to Pluto: From a Point of Light to a Real World (Part 2)

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

Thirty days from now, on 14 July, a machine fashioned by human hands will speed silently past one of the last great unexplored wildernesses of our Solar System. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, launched 9.5 years ago, is close to the culmination of its mission to […]

Four Weeks to Pluto: From a Point of Light to a Real World (Part 1)

Artist’s concept of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during closest approach to Pluto on July 14. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

In a little more than four weeks’ time, on 14 July, NASA’s New Horizon spacecraft will sweep past the dwarf planet Pluto, its large binary companion Charon, and […]

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 […]