Pluto News

New Horizons Spacecraft Reveals a Colorful ‘Landing’ on Pluto

January 20, 2017

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Slushy Ocean Beneath Pluto’s Surface

A new NASA video uses more than 100 images taken by the New Horizons Spacecraft to reveal a trip to Pluto’s informally named Sputnik Planitia. What would it be like to actually land on Pluto? This movie was made from more than 100 images taken by NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft over six weeks of approach […]

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Scientists Provide New Insight into Pluto’s Bladed Terrain

January 5, 2017

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Scientists Offer Sharper Insight into Pluto’s Bladed Terrain

A team of researchers used a model similar to what meteorologists use to forecast weather and a computer simulation of the physics of evaporating ices to find evidence of snow and ice features on Pluto. Formed by erosion, the features, known as “penitentes,” are bowl-shaped depressions with blade-like spires around the edge that rise several […]

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Astronomers Probe Mystery of Pluto’s Icy Heart

December 1, 2016

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Researchers Probe Mystery of Pluto’s Icy Heart

New research looks to solve the many mysteries of Pluto’s icy heart-shaped feature. Was Pluto’s frozen heart formed in an ancient impact basin and was it once closer to the north pole? And does the icy heart conceal a subsurface ocean? Scientists are offering several new scenarios to explain the formation of Pluto’s frozen heart-shaped […]

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New Horizons Reveals an Ocean Beneath Pluto’s Heart-Shaped Basin

November 18, 2016

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Slushy Ocean Beneath Pluto’s Surface

New data from NASA’s New Horizons Mission reveals evidence of any icy, slushy ocean beneath Pluto’s heart-shaped basin. Beneath Pluto’s “heart” lies a cold, slushy ocean of water ice, according to data from NASA’s New Horizons mission. In a paper published today in the journal Nature, the New Horizons team, including researchers from MIT, reports […]

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Chandra Detects X-Rays from Pluto

September 15, 2016

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Astronomers Shed New Light on Pluto

Using Chandra, a team of astronomers has detected X-rays from Pluto for the first time. This X-ray emission comes from the interaction between Pluto’s atmosphere and solar wind. New Chandra observations offer new insight into the space environment surrounding Pluto, the largest and best-known object in the solar system’s outermost regions. While NASA’s New Horizons […]

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Charon’s Polar Coloring the Result of Seasonally Cold-Trapped Volatiles

September 14, 2016

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Charon’s Polar Coloring Comes from Pluto

New research reveals that Charon’s reddish polar coloring comes from Pluto itself. In June 2015, when the cameras on NASA’s approaching New Horizons spacecraft first spotted the large reddish polar region on Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, mission scientists knew two things: they’d never seen anything like it elsewhere in our solar system, and they couldn’t […]

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New Horizons Image Shows Pluto’s Methane Snowcaps

August 31, 2016

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New Pluto Image Shows Methane Snowcaps on the Edge of Darkness

This newly released image shows the southernmost part of Pluto that NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft could “see” during closest approach in July 2015. The image contains a range of fascinating geological features, and offers clues into what might lurk in the regions shrouded in darkness during the flyby. The area shown above is south of […]

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NASA’s Top 10 Pluto Pics from the New Horizons Spacecraft

July 15, 2016

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Global Mosaic of Pluto in True Color

One year ago, NASA’s New Horizons mission made history by exploring Pluto and its moons – giving humankind our first real look at this fascinating world on the frontier of our solar system. Since those amazing days in July 2015 the New Horizons spacecraft has transmitted numerous images and many other kinds of data home […]

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New Horizons Spacecraft Views Jagged Shores of Pluto’s Highlands

June 10, 2016

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New Image of the Jagged Shores of Pluto’s Highlands

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zooms in Pluto’s great ice plains and Krun Macula. This enhanced color view from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft shows the southeastern portion of Pluto’s great ice plains, where at lower right the plains border rugged, dark highlands informally named Krun Macula. (Krun is the lord of the underworld in the Mandaean […]

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New Horizons Reveals Secrets from Pluto’s ‘Twilight Zone’

June 2, 2016

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New Horizons Spacecraft Reveals Secrets of Pluto’s Twilight Zone

New images from the New Horizons Spacecraft reveal the complex atmospheric haze layers of Pluto. 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 […]

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New Close-Up View of Pluto’s Surface

May 27, 2016

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Best Close-Up of Pluto's Surface

This new close-up image of Pluto’s surface is the most detailed image revealed to date by they New Horizons Spacecraft. This is the most detailed view of Pluto’s terrain you’ll see for a very long time. This mosaic strip – extending across the hemisphere that faced the New Horizons spacecraft as it flew past Pluto […]

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New Horizons Reveals a Distinct Water-Ice Signature on the Surface of Hydra

May 6, 2016

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New Horizons Reveals Water-Ice Signature on the Surface of Hydra

NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft reveals a distinct water-ice signature on the surface of Pluto’s outermost moon, Hydra. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has sent home the first compositional data about Pluto’s four small satellites. The new data show the surface of Hydra, Pluto’s outermost small moon, is dominated by nearly pristine water ice – confirming hints […]

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New Elevation Map of Pluto’s ‘Heart’ from New Horizons

May 2, 2016

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New Elevation Map of Pluto from New Horizons

NASA releases a new elevation map of Pluto’s heart-shaped surface area. This newest shaded relief view of the region surrounding the left side of Pluto’s heart-shaped feature – informally named Sputnik Planum – shows that the vast expanse of the icy surface is on average 2 miles (3 kilometers) lower than the surrounding terrain. Angular […]

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New Horizons Image Shows Pluto’s ‘Halo’ Craters

April 21, 2016

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New Horizons Views Pluto’s ‘Halo’ Craters

This newly released image from the New Horizons Spacecraft looks within Pluto’s informally named Vega Terra region, showing a field of eye-catching craters that looks like a cluster of bright halos scattered across a dark landscape. The region is far west of the hemisphere NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft viewed during close approach last summer. The […]

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New Horizons Shows Pluto’s Haze Varies in Brightness

April 18, 2016

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New Research Shows Pluto’s Haze Varies in Brightness

New images from NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft reveal that Pluto’s haze varies in brightness. Scientists on NASA’s New Horizons mission team are learning more about the structure and behavior of Pluto’s complex atmosphere by discovering new attributes of its extensive haze layers. The hazes were first discovered by New Horizons in July, as the spacecraft […]

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New Horizons Views Frozen, Former Lake of Liquid Nitrogen

March 25, 2016

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New Horizons Ancient Views Frozen Pond

This newly released image shows a frozen, former lake of liquid nitrogen, which is located in a mountain range just north of Pluto’s informally named Sputnik Planum. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft spied several features on Pluto that offer evidence of a time millions or billions of years ago when – thanks to much higher pressure […]

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Methane Surface on Pluto May be Sublimating Away Into the Atmosphere

March 11, 2016

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New Horizons Shows Sublimation Eating Away at Pluto’s Surface

New Horizons provides scientists with a closer look at eh surface of Pluto. Far in the western hemisphere, scientists on NASA’s New Horizons mission have discovered what looks like a giant “bite mark” on Pluto’s surface. They suspect it may be caused by a process known as sublimation — the transition of a substance from […]

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Scientists Construct Geological Maps of Pluto’s

February 12, 2016

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Putting Pluto’s Geology on the Map

How to make sense of Pluto’s surprising geological complexity? To help understand the diversity of terrain and to piece together how Pluto’s surface has formed and evolved over time, mission scientists construct geological maps like the one shown above. This map covers a portion of Pluto’s surface that measures 1,290 miles (2,070 kilometers) from top […]

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