'Penitentes on Steroids': Scientists Solve Enigma of Pluto's Massive Ice Blades

Pluto’s “bladed terrain” as seen by New Horizons in 2015. Photo Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Pluto is an intriguing little world, full of geological surprises, as New Horizons revealed back in 2015. This cold, remote body was expected to be pretty much inactive, but instead we saw a place with nitrogen ice “seas” and glaciers, tall […]

'Hopping Around' on Pluto? Exciting Lander Mission Concept Presented at NASA Symposium

Illustration depicting how the Pluto lander would land on the surface and then “hop” to different locations. Image Credit: L. Calçada of European Southern Observatory (ESO)

In 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft provided our first up-close look at Pluto and its moons, helping to transform our knowledge about these small, cold worlds in the […]

New Horizons' Next Target May Resemble Rosetta's Comet 67P Or Be A Binary Pair

One artist’s concept of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, the next flyby target for NASA’s New Horizons mission. This binary concept is based on telescope observations made at Patagonia, Argentina on July 17, 2017 when MU69 passed in front of a star. New Horizons theorize that it could be a single body with a […]

Fly Over Pluto and Charon for Second Anniversary of New Horizons' Historic Visit

Pluto is a world of wonders, with vast glaciers and plains of nitrogen ice, mountains of water ice capped with methane snow, ancient rivers and lakes of liquid nitrogen, massive “ice spikes” reaching 500 meters tall (similar to Penitentes on Earth but much larger), a possible subsurface ocean and a hazy blue atmosphere. Photo […]

SOFIA Intercepts Shadow of New Horizons' Next Flyby Target 4 Billion Miles Away

NASA’s airborne observatory, SOFIA, was in the right place at the right time on July 10 to study the environment around a distant Kuiper Belt object, 2014 MU69, which is the next flyby target for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA

July 14, 2015, marks the first day where humanity completed the first […]

New Horizons Team Successfully Observes Transit of Next KBO Target, and Clouds on Pluto!

Four members of the South African observation team, who helped to track the occultation of a star by the KBO called 2014 MU69, the next target for the New Horizons spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Henry Throop

With the Pluto flyby now well behind them, the New Horizons team has been busy preparing for the next […]

New Moon Discovered by Hubble Orbiting Third Largest Dwarf Planet in Kuiper Belt

Two images of dwarf planet 2007 OR10 from Hubble, taken a year apart, showing the small moon. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/C. Kiss (Konkoly Observatory)/J. Stansberry (STScI)

Moons are exceedingly common in the Solar System – Jupiter alone has 67! But smaller planets do as well of course, except for Mercury and Venus, and even some […]

New Horizons Reaches Halfway Point Between Pluto and Next KBO Target

New Horizons is now halfway from Pluto to its next destination – the KBO known as 2014 MU69, which it will reach on Jan. 1, 2019 (artist’s conception). Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

It may not seem like it, but it is approaching two years now since New Horizons made its historic flyby of Pluto and […]

New Horizons Completes Another Course Adjustment in Preparation for 2019 Flyby of Next KBO

Artist’s conception of New Horizons approaching 2014 MU69 in 2019. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI/Steve Gribben

Long after its incredible encounter with Pluto and its moons in 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft is continuing its journey deeper into the Kuiper Belt in the outer reaches of the Solar System. Mission scientists and engineers are now preparing […]

Ancient Water World: Tectonics on Pluto's Moon Charon Point to Frozen Subsurface Ocean

Charon (upper left) and Pluto as seen by New Horizons on July 14, 2015. Photo Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Charon is Pluto’s largest moon and, despite being so cold and remote from the Sun, has been revealed to be a fascinating and active world, just like Pluto itself. Residing in the far outskirts of the Solar […]