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New Horizons returns first images from mission's Pluto approach phase

Emily Lakdawalla • February 04, 2015

Here they are, the first images of Pluto from the approach phase of the New Horizons mission. Science has begun; we're on the home stretch!

Talking to Pluto is hard! Why it takes so long to get data back from New Horizons

Emily Lakdawalla • January 30, 2015

As I write this post, New Horizons is nearing the end of a weeklong optical navigation campaign. The last optical navigation images in the weeklong series will be taken tomorrow, but it will likely take two weeks or more for all the data to get to Earth. Two weeks! Why does it take so long?

Year of the 'Dwarves': Ceres and Pluto Get Their Due

Paul Schenk • January 15, 2015

This year we achieve the first exploration of these curious but fascinating objects. Paul Schenk explains what we may learn about them.

Planetary exploration in 2015: The Year of the Dwarf Planet

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2014

Looking ahead to what we can expect from Earth's exploration of the rest of the solar system in 2015, there's an obvious theme: Dwarf planets.

The New Horizons science mission to the Pluto-Charon system is about to begin

Emily Lakdawalla • December 03, 2014

It's been a long journey, but it's nearly over: New Horizons is just about ready to begin its science mission to Pluto, Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. I'll remind you of New Horizons' capabilities and simulate how Pluto will appear in optical navigation images.

With New Horizons Ready to Wake Up, Scientists Prepare for Pluto Encounter

Jason Davis • November 14, 2014

When New Horizons wakes up for the final time on Dec. 6, scientists will spend six weeks preparing for the start of the spacecraft's Pluto encounter.

Finally! New Horizons has a second target

Emily Lakdawalla • October 15, 2014

What a huge relief: there is finally a place for New Horizons to visit beyond Pluto. A team of researchers led by John Spencer has discovered three possible targets, all in the Cold Classical part of the Kuiper belt. One is particularly easy to reach. New Horizons would fly past the 30-45-kilometer object in January 2019.

Twinkling worlds in motion: New Horizons' first optical navigation images of Pluto and Charon

Emily Lakdawalla • August 07, 2014

What's that in the distance? A binary star? Those are two little round worlds dancing in circles, whirling around a point in space located between the two of them. It's Pluto and Charon, clearly separated by New Horizons' camera.

New Horizons to take new photos of Pluto and Charon, beginning optical navigation campaign

Emily Lakdawalla • July 18, 2014

Technically, Pluto science observations don't begin for New Horizons until 2015, but the spacecraft will take a series of photos of Pluto and Charon from July 20 to 27 as it begins the first of four optical navigation campaigns.

Hubble to the rescue! The last-ditch effort to discover a Kuiper belt target for New Horizons

Emily Lakdawalla • June 17, 2014

Will New Horizons have a mission after Pluto? Ground-based searches have failed to turn up anything that New Horizons can reach. Now Hubble is joining the search, but time is running out: a discovery must be made within the next two months.

New Horizons: Updates From the April 2014 Science Team Meeting

Simon Porter • May 07, 2014

New Horizons team member Simon Porter reports on the state of the mission and Pluto system science from the recent science team meeting at the Applied Physics Laboratory.

When will we know which is bigger, Pluto or Eris?

Emily Lakdawalla • April 30, 2014

We don't currently know whether Pluto is the biggest thing in the Kuiper belt or not. When will New Horizons give us the answer?

Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 10: Trans Neptunian Objects including Pluto, KBOs, Comets

Bruce Betts • April 18, 2014

Explore the worlds beyond Neptune including Pluto, Kuiper Belt Objects and comets in this video of class 10 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

Postcards from Pluto

Amanda Zangari • March 12, 2014

Amanda Zangari shares what it's like to be a scientist on New Horizons, and explains some of the day-to-day workings of the mission behind the scenes.

Predicting Pluto's moons and moondust

Emily Lakdawalla • February 19, 2014

Why didn't we discover Pluto's moons until more than a decade after Hubble launched? Mark Showalter helps me answer this question.

New Horizons: Updates From the January 2014 Science Team Meeting, Part 2

Ted Stryk • January 24, 2014

Ted Stryk reports on the status of the New Horizons mission from the mission's latest Science Team Meeting. Updates include the status of the Kuiper Belt target search and the use of ALMA to refine Pluto's ephemeris.

New Horizons: Updates From the Science Team Meeting, Part 1

Ted Stryk • January 23, 2014

Ted Stryk reports on the status of the New Horizons mission from the mission's latest Science Team Meeting.

Through a Glass, Darkly

Bill Dunford • January 13, 2014

When sent from deep space, even imperfect images can inform and amaze.

What's up in planetary missions in 2014

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2013

With the New Year upon us, what can we look forward to in 2014? For me, the main event of 2014 is that ESA's Rosetta mission finally -- finally! -- catches up to the comet it has been chasing for a decade. We will lose LADEE, gain two Mars orbiters, and launch Hayabusa2. The year begins with an amazing 24 spacecraft exploring or cruising toward various planetary destinations.

Your Name...On Its Way to the Stars?

Mat Kaplan • October 08, 2013

This week's Planetary Radio features artist Jon Lomberg inviting listeners to join the New Horizons Message Initiative.

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