Four Decades, Four Planets: Voyager 2 Celebrates 40 Years of Deep Space Exploration

The Voyager adventure began 40 years ago, today, on 20 August 1977. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Forty years ago, today, on 20 August 1977, a space explorer rose from Earth on a multi-decade adventure, which would unveil all four of the Solar System’s giant gaseous planets in unprecedented detail. Despite being originally detailed to visit […]

Leading Planetary Scientists Discuss Prospect of Missions to Uranus and Neptune

Uranus and Neptune: the Solar System’s unique ice giant planets, of which we only got brief glimpses during the Voyager 2 flybys in the 1980s, beckon for further, more detailed exploration. Image Credit: NASA

Last year’s historic close flyby of Pluto by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft put the outer Solar System firmly back in […]

A Jewel in the Rough: Juno Returns First Rich Scientific Harvest From Jupiter

From NASA: “NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured this view as it closed in on Jupiter’s north pole, about two hours before closest approach on Aug. 27, 2016.” Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

Jupiter, with its complex layers of clouds and storms, is revealing itself to be a multifaceted jewel of a planet. Over forty years after […]

Mysterious World: 30 Years Since Voyager 2's Encounter With Uranus (Part 2)

Uranus and its six largest moons, from left Puck, Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon. Image Credit: NASA

At 12:59 p.m. EST (5:59 p.m. GMT) today, exactly three decades passed since NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft became the first machine fashioned by human hands to visit Uranus, the seventh planet in line from the Sun. […]

Uncertain Journey: 30 Years Since Voyager 2's Encounter With Uranus (Part 1)

Visible only as a crescent, Uranus recedes from Voyager 2 in the days after Closest Approach. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, today and tomorrow, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft gave humanity its first close-up glimpse of Uranus. Known for more than two centuries, and frequently the “butt” of many off-color jokes, this giant gaseous […]

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

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 […]

One Day to Pluto: Looking Back at Humanity's First-Time Successful Encounters With the Sun's Planets

Tomorrow’s historic flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto and its binary companion, Charon, will mark the completion of humanity’s first-time exploration of each of the Solar System’s nine traditional planets. Photo Credit: NASA

Tomorrow, the United States will become the first nation to have conducted a close-range reconnaissance of all nine “traditional” planets in […]

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 […]

Shedding New Light On the Solar System: Celebrating 25 Years of Hubble Science (Part 2)

A series of images of Uranus and Neptune that were taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. The top row reveals the ice giant planets in natural colors, showing the planets as they would appear if we could see them through a telescope. The images at the bottom were taken with certain types of different […]

New Horizons Sends Back New Photos of Pluto on Clyde Tombaugh's Birthday

Two new images of Pluto and its largest moon Charon, taken on Jan. 25 and Jan. 27, 2015 by the New Horizons spacecraft. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

As the New Horizons spacecraft continues speeding toward its rendezvous with Pluto this summer, it has just sent back new photos […]