NASA'S Mission to Pluto

Pluto Features Given First Official Names

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) It's official: Pluto's “heart” now bears the name of pioneering American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930. And a crater is now officially named after Venetia Burney, the schoolgirl who suggested the name...

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First Official Pluto Feature Names

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) The International Astronomical Union (IAU), the internationally recognized authority for naming celestial bodies and their surface features, approved names of 14 surface features on Pluto in August 2017. The names were proposed...

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New Horizons Files Flight Plan for 2019 Flyby

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) New Horizons has set the distance for its New Year's Day 2019 flyby of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, aiming to come three times closer to MU69 than it flew past Pluto in 2015. ...read more Read more here:: NASA’s Pluto...

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The Heroes of the DSN and the ‘Summer of MU69’

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) The New Horizons team has learned a lot this summer about the mission's next flyby target, the distant and mysterious Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69. Principal Investigator Alan Stern covers this and other mission updates in his...

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Artist’s Concept of 2014 MU69 as a Single Object

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) Artists concept of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, which is the next flyby target for NASAs New Horizons mission. Scientists speculate that the Kuiper Belt object could be a single body (above) with a large chunk taken out of it,...

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New Horizons Team Strikes Gold in Argentina

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) Several telescopes deployed by the New Horizons team in a remote part of Argentina were in precisely the right place at the right time to catch a fleeting shadow of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 – the mission's next flyby target...

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Marc Buie Detecting the Fleeting Shadow in Argentina

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) Marc Buie, New Horizons occultation campaign lead, holds up five fingers to represent the number of mobile telescopes in Argentina initially believed to have detected the fleeting shadow of 2014 MU69. The New Horizons spacecraft...

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Charon’s Surface in Detail

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) On July 14, 2015, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft made its historic flight through the Pluto system. This detailed, high-quality global mosaic of Plutos largest moon, Charon, was assembled from nearly all of the...

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Global Mosaics of Pluto and Charon

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) Global mosaics of Pluto and Charon projected at 300 meters (985 feet) per pixel that have been assembled from most of the highest resolution images obtained by the Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and the Multispectral...

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Pluto’s Surface in Detail

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) On July 14, 2015, NASAs New Horizons spacecraft made its historic flight through the Pluto system. This detailed, high-quality global mosaic of Pluto was assembled from nearly all of the highest-resolution images obtained by the...

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Soaring over Charon

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) Click here to view this video. In July 2015, NASAs New Horizons spacecraft sent home the first close-up pictures of Pluto and its moons. Using actual New Horizons data and digital elevation models of Pluto and its largest moon,...

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Soaring over Pluto

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) Click here to view this video. In July 2015, NASAs New Horizons spacecraft sent home the first close-up pictures of Pluto and its moons. Using actual New Horizons data and digital elevation models of Pluto and its largest moon,...

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Telescope Preparation

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) New Horizons team members prepare one of the new 16-inch telescopes for deployment to occultation observation sites in Argentina and South Africa. ...read more Read more here:: New Horizons Science...

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No Sleeping Back on Earth!

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) The New Horizons spacecraft might be hibernating through summer, but the mission team has plenty to do! Principal Investigator Alan Stern covers the full range of upcoming activities, including observations of 2014 MU69 – our...

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New Horizons Halfway from Pluto to Next Flyby Target

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) Continuing on its path through the outer regions of the solar system, New Horizons has now traveled half the distance from Pluto – its storied first target – to 2014 MU69, the Kuiper Belt object it will fly past on Jan. 1, 2019....

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A KBO among the Stars

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) In preparation for the New Horizons flyby of 2014 MU69 on Jan. 1, 2019, the spacecraft's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) took a series of 10-second exposures of the background star field near the location of its target...

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Blue Rays: New Horizons’ High-Res Farewell to Pluto

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) This is the highest-resolution color departure shot of Pluto's receding crescent from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, taken when the spacecraft was 120,000 miles (200,000 kilometers) away from Pluto. Shown in approximate true...

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