NASA'S Mission to Pluto

Pluto ‘Paints’ its Largest Moon Red

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) After months of analysis, New Horizons scientists say they have found the likely source of the reddish material covering the poles of Pluto’s moon Charon – Pluto itself. They publish their results this week in the...

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X-ray Detection Sheds New Light on Pluto

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) New Horizons scientists using the Chandra X-ray Observatory have made the first detections of X-rays from Pluto. The observations offer new insight into the space environment surrounding the largest and best-known object in the...

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X-Rays from Pluto

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) The first detection of Pluto in X-rays has been made using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory in conjunction with observations from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. As New Horizons approached Pluto in late 2014 and then...

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New Horizons Spies a Kuiper Belt Companion

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) New Horizons is doing some sightseeing along the way to its 2019 date with an ancient object in the Kuiper Belt known as 2014 MU69. …read more Read more here:: NASA’s Pluto...

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Pluto’s Methane Snowcaps on the Edge of Darkness

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) The southernmost part of Pluto that New Horizons could “see” during closest approach contains a range of fascinating geological features, and offers clues into what might lurk in the regions shrouded in darkness...

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Pluto’s Methane Snowcaps on the Edge of Darkness

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) This area is south of Pluto’s dark equatorial band informally named Cthulhu Regio, and southwest of the vast nitrogen ice plains informally named Sputnik Planitia. North is at the top; in the western portion of the image,...

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New Horizons Spies a Kuiper Belt Companion

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) In July 2016, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft observed the Kuiper Belt Object Quaoar (“Kwa-war”), which at 690 miles or 1,100 kilometers in diameter is roughly half the size of Pluto. This animated sequence...

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Blog: What a Journey!

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) Now that most of the science data from the Pluto encounter have been downlinked to Earth, New Horizons Project Scientist Hal Weaver says it seems only fitting to reflect on the long journey that took us to the frontier of our...

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New Horizons Video: Coming in Toward a Landing on Pluto

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) Imagine a future spacecraft following New Horizons’ trailblazing path to Pluto, but instead of flying past its target – as New Horizons needed to do to explore Pluto and the Kuiper Belt beyond – the next visitor touches...

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Looking Back, a Year after Pluto

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) A year after the New Horizons mission made science and space exploration history – the exploration of Pluto completed the era of first reconnaissance of the planets begun by NASA in 1962 – the spacecraft is now nearly 300...

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New Horizons Phones Home

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) Watch as the mission operations team at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab receives the signal from New Horizons and confirms a successful flight through the Pluto system. …read more Read more here:: New Horizons...

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The PI’s Perspective: Exploration Ahead!

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) When Principal Investigator Alan Stern tweeted on the morning of July 1 that the mission team was exactly 2.5 years from a hoped-for Kuiper Belt object flyby, little did he know that NASA would announce its approval of the flyby...

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Blog: Rewriting the Playbook on Pluto

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) Through all the mission planning and activity, New Horizons scientists were certain that they were going to rewrite textbooks based on what they found at Pluto. Science team member Richard Binzel writes about the team’s...

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The Jagged Shores of Pluto’s Highlands

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) A new enhanced color image from New Horizons zooms in on the southeastern portion of Pluto’s great ice plains, where the plains border rugged, dark highlands informally named Krun Macula. …read more Read more here::...

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The Jagged Shores of Pluto’s Highlands

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) This enhanced color view from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zooms in on the southeastern portion of Pluto’s great ice plains, where at lower right the plains border rugged, dark highlands informally named Krun...

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The Jagged Shores of Pluto’s Highlands

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) This enhanced color view from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zooms in on the southeastern portion of Pluto’s great ice plains, where at lower right the plains border rugged, dark highlands informally named Krun...

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Secrets Revealed from Pluto’s ‘Twilight Zone’

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) New Horizons took this stunning image only minutes after passing Pluto; looking back at Pluto with images like this gives scientists information about Pluto’s hazes and surface properties that they can’t get from...

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Pluto’s ‘Twilight Zone’ (Full Image)

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft took this stunning image of Pluto only a few minutes after closest approach on July 14, 2015. The image was obtained at a high phase angle -that is, with the sun on the other side of Pluto,...

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Secrets Revealed from Pluto’s ‘Twilight Zone’

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft took this stunning image of Pluto only a few minutes after closest approach on July 14, 2015. The image was obtained at a high phase angle -that is, with the sun on the other side of Pluto,...

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Pluto’s Heart: Like a Cosmic ‘Lava Lamp’

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) Like a cosmic lava lamp, a large section of Pluto’s icy surface is being constantly renewed by a process called convection that replaces older surface ices with fresher material. …read more Read more here::...

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Pluto’s Heart: Like a Cosmic ‘Lava Lamp’

By Mike.Buckley@jhuapl.edu (M. Buckley) Like a cosmic lava lamp, a large section of Pluto’s icy surface is being constantly renewed by a process called convection that replaces older surface ices with fresher material. Scientists from NASA’s New Horizons...

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