Outer Planets

Water Ice on Pluto Portents a Bright Future for Sailing the Solar System

Water Ice on Pluto Portents a Bright Future for Sailing the Solar System

From NASA, comments follow: “New data from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft point to more prevalent water ice on Pluto’s surface than previously thought. This false-color image, derived from observations in infrared light by the Ralph/Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) instrument, shows where the spectral features of water ice are abundant on Pluto’s surface. It […]

Planet 9, Welcome to the Neighborhood!

Planet 9, Welcome to the Neighborhood!

First there was the Ed Wood classic, Plan 9 From Outer Space. Now, a fascinating bit of astronomical detective work from researchers at Caltech may have come up with the best evidence yet that somewhere well beyond the Kuiper Belt, our solar system harbors a massive, as yet undiscovered world they have dubbed “Planet Nine.” […]

Posted in: Outer Planets
New Worlds in Far Away Places

New Worlds in Far Away Places

Two new discoveries, one at the farthest boundary of our solar system, and one orbiting a dim star 39 light years add to a remarkable week of planetary news. First up is V774101, a 300-600 mile diameter world discovered orbiting at a distance 3 times further out than Pluto, and 103 times further than Earth […]

New Horizons Discovers Cryovolanoes on Pluto

New Horizons Discovers Cryovolanoes on Pluto

Cryovolcanoes. It sounds like the title to yet another of the Syfy Channel’s horrendous Saturday night movies. Instead, it is only one of a stunning series of discoveries taken from the agonizingly slow (4 kilobits per second) stream of data being transmitted by the New Horizons spacecraft as it speeds away from the Pluto-Charon system. […]

Posted in: Outer Planets
Cassini Prepares to Taste the Oceans of Enceladus During Historic “Plume Dive”

Cassini Prepares to Taste the Oceans of Enceladus During Historic “Plume Dive”

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is about to make a return visit to one of the most interesting environments we have yet discovered in the Saturn system, and that is saying something. On Wednesday, October 28th, Cassini will make a low flyby over the South Pole of Enceladus, the 300 mile diameter moon which appears to contain […]

Revelling in Pluto’s Etherial Beauty

Revelling in Pluto’s Etherial Beauty

Ostensibly we go, or send our machines, out into space for the advancement of science. It is a goal NASA’s New Horizon’s mission to the Pluto – Charon system has clearly achieved and then some. As the quality of imaging systems has vastly improved over earlier missions however, what continues to delight and to invoke […]

Posted in: NASA, Outer Planets
7-Mile To-Scale Model of the Solar System in the Nevada Desert
By 2015.09.18 1 Comments Read More →

7-Mile To-Scale Model of the Solar System in the Nevada Desert

It’s a big, beautiful world!

News Years Day 2019:  Kuiper Belt Flyby for New Horizons

News Years Day 2019: Kuiper Belt Flyby for New Horizons

As it speeds away from its historic encounter with Pluto, NASA has identified the most promising target for the New Horizon’s next flyby, and it might present a scheduling issue for mission scientists and space enthusiasts who happen to be college football fans, at least for New Year’s Day 2019. That is when New Horizons […]

Posted in: Outer Planets
Addressing NASA’s Plutonium Problem

Addressing NASA’s Plutonium Problem

Yet another positive aspect of NASA’s highly successful New Horizons probe is the fact that it is focusing attention on one of the biggest gaps in fulfilling some of the space agency’s long term plans; the lack of a coherent policy regarding space nuclear power. New Horizons, like Cassini at Saturn and the Curiosity rover […]

Posted in: Congress, NASA, Outer Planets
At Ceres, NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Spirals Closer for a Summer Finale

At Ceres, NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Spirals Closer for a Summer Finale

Topographic map of Ceres. Purple is low, red is high.  Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA   As  July draws to a close and August begins, the cycle of the seasons can seem to be advancing quicker than ever. Even with some of the hottest weeks yet come, and Labor Day more than a full month away, the prevalence […]

Posted in: Asteroids, Outer Planets
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