New Horizons' Data of Pluto/Charon Show Rarity of Small Kuiper Belt Objects

Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, as seen by New Horizons in 2015. The lack of smaller craters -less than expected – suggests that small objects less than a mile in size are rare in the Kuiper Belt. Photo Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker

The Kuiper Belt is a vast region of rocky debris in the outer Solar […]

Voyager Spacecraft Continue Their Interstellar Journey With Help from Hubble Space Telescope

Artist’s illustrationn of Voyager 1 looking back on the Solar System. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STScI)

There have been many incredible planetary missions over the past several decades, from as close as our Moon to the outer reaches of the Solar System. Right now, there are robotic explorers at Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Ceres, […]

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 […]

'Weird Object' Discovered Beyond Neptune: A Clue in the Quest for Planet Nine?

The newly discovered object called Niku is a real oddity (artist’s conception). It is also part of a group of many such objects far past Neptune in the outer Solar System. Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/Nick Risinger

For the most part, the Solar System seems to be a rather well-ordered place; the planets, dwarf […]

Hubble Space Telescope Analyzes Atmosphere of Super-Earth Exoplanet for First Time

Artist’s conception of 55 Cancri e, a searingly hot, carbon-rich world. Image Credit: ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser

Exoplanets are now being discovered by the thousands, but most are so far away that determining anything specific about their composition or atmosphere is currently very difficult. But technology keeps advancing, and scientists are now starting to […]

Has 'Planet X' Finally Been Found? A Cautionary Tale

Artist’s conception of Planet Nine. The new evidence is the best so far that a massive planet exists far past Neptune in the outer Solar System. Image Credit: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

For a long time now, there have been theories and rumors regarding the possible existence of another planet in our Solar System, […]

Stunning New Images of Pluto's Surface Are Best Yet from New Horizons Mission

New high-resolution image of Pluto from New Horizons, showing jumbled blocks in the water-ice crust, which border the smooth nitrogen-ice plains. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

The New Horizons mission has already sent back phenomenal images and data from Pluto, but it keeps getting better. New images released today are the first in a series […]

A Moon Falling Apart: Grooves on Phobos Are a Sign of its Eventual Catastrophic Fate

The unusual grooves on Phobos’ surface, such as those on the left side of this image, are now thought to be caused by tidal stress. The large crater Stickney is in the upper portion of the image. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Phobos is the largest of Mars’ two tiny moons, but 50 […]

Onward!: NASA Selects Next Destination for New Horizons in Kuiper Belt

Artist’s conception of New Horizons at 2014 MU69. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker

It has been nearly a month and a half since the historic flyby of Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft, and now the mission team has selected its next target for exploration: a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 […]

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 […]