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)

[…]

Muddy Mars: New Evidence for Liquid Water Flows Within Past Million Years

Illustration of debris flows inside Istok crater on Mars, which have provided evidence of large amounts of flowing water and mud in the past. The flows are very similar to ones on Earth in Arctic regions such as Iceland. Image Credit: Nature Communications

The fact that Mars used to have large amounts of liquid […]

ESA's Historic Rosetta Mission Extended Through September 2016

Rosetta & Philae at comet 67P. Credit: ESA–C. Carreau/ATG medialab

Rosetta and Philae at comet 67P. Credit: ESA–C. Carreau/ATG medialab

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced that the Rosetta mission, which saw the spacecraft successfully orbit a comet and set a lander down upon its surface in a series of historic firsts, has been extended. Just days after it was revealed Philae, Rosetta’s lander, […]

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 […]

Sinkholes on Titan: New Study Shows How Hydrocarbon Lakes May Form by Earth-Like Erosion

Wider view of lakes and seas near Titan's north pole. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/USGS

Colored mosaic of lakes near Titan’s north pole. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/USGS

Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, has seas and lakes of liquid methane and ethane dotting its surface, but one question scientists have been trying to figure out is how the hollows in the ground, which hold the lakes, form to begin with. Now, a […]

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 […]

New Study Suggests Pluto's Charon May Have Harbored Underground Oceans Long Ago

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

An artist’s depiction of Pluto, as seen from the surface of its largest moon Charon. A recent study by a team of US astronomers argues that Charon might harbor frozen underground oceans of liquid water, the pressence of which could be inferred by surface geologic features that could be visible to the New Horizons […]