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Looking Back at MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • February 08, 2019

A crescent view of MU69 reveals its bizarre shape. Let's look at lots of other fun-shaped space crescents.

Why are there no stars in most space images?

Emily Lakdawalla • January 28, 2019

Look up at space at night from a dark location and you can see innumerable stars. Why, then, do photos of so many things in space show black space, devoid of stars?

A few new images of MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • January 15, 2019

New Horizons is back in action after going quiet for a period of solar conjunction following the 1 January flyby of 2014 MU69 (informally nicknamed "Ultima Thule"). The spacecraft is returning new data, as exemplified by these images.

MU69 appears as a bi-lobed baby comet in latest New Horizons images

Emily Lakdawalla • January 02, 2019

The latest images downlinked from New Horizons show MU69 to be a textbook example of a contact binary. How do contact binaries form? Updated with images released on 3 January.

Happy New Year! The New Horizons flyby was successful!

Emily Lakdawalla • January 01, 2019

New Horizons has "phoned home" as expected, 4 hours after its closest approach to 2014 MU69. Its brief transmission contained no science data, but gave the scientists welcome news: New Horizons has successfully pulled off the most distant flyby ever.

New Horizons fast approaching 2014 MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • December 27, 2018

Unaffected by the shutdown of the U.S. government, New Horizons is still on course for its New Year’s encounter with 2014 MU69 (nicknamed “Ultima Thule”). This post collects the latest images from New Horizons' approach to the tiny Kuiper belt object and will be updated regularly.

What to Expect When New Horizons Visits 2014 MU69, Ultima Thule

Emily Lakdawalla • December 17, 2018

New Horizons is rapidly approaching its New Year’s encounter with the most distant world ever visited, 2014 MU69. Closest approach will be at a distance of 3,500 kilometers at about 05:33 on 1 January UTC.

'Everything about this flyby is tougher': New Horizons just over 100 days from Ultima Thule

Jason Davis • September 19, 2018

On Jan. 1, NASA's New Horizons will perform a high-risk, high-reward flyby of an ancient world on the outskirts of the solar system.

OSIRIS-REx and New Horizons catch first sight of their targets

Emily Lakdawalla • August 29, 2018

Both OSIRIS-REx and New Horizons achieved first light on their still-distant targets this week. Between now and the end of 2018, Bennu and 2014 MU69 will turn from points of light into places.

Space grade electronics: How NASA’s Juno survives near Jupiter

Jatan Mehta • April 17, 2018

Take a look at how electronics of spacecraft are built to survive the harshness of space environments.

Sketching a science meeting

Emily Lakdawalla • March 02, 2018

The Planetary Society has always enjoyed the connections between science and art, so when I saw Leila Qışın's sketches pop up on her Twitter feed during the recent New Horizons team meeting, I knew I had to share them with you.

New Horizons prepares for encounter with 2014 MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • January 24, 2018

Throughout 2018, New Horizons will cruise toward its January 1 encounter with 2014 MU69. Preparations for the flyby are nearly complete.

In total eclipse of a star, New Horizons' future flyby target makes its presence known

Emily Lakdawalla • July 19, 2017

The team reported two weeks ago that the first attempts at observing 2014 MU69 were unsuccessful. But in their third try, on July 17, astronomers in Argentina saw the telltale sign of MU69's presence: a stellar wink.

When New Horizons' next target passed in front of a star, this scientist was watching from Argentina

Alejandro Soto • June 16, 2017

A team of scientists recently traveled to rural Argentina in the hopes of catching New Horizons' next target—Kuiper Belt object MU 69—crossing in front of a distant star.

Jupiter from New Horizons

Alex Parker • May 16, 2017

Using new image processing techniques, Alex Parker brings new life to an old image of Jupiter captured by the New Horizons mission on its way to Pluto over a decade ago.

Learn the rocket equation, part 2

David Shortt • May 05, 2017

In the second and final chapter of our series, we’ll explore what the rocket equation has to say about travel through the solar system, using the example of launching a rocket to Pluto.

Spaceflight in 2017, part 2: Robots beyond Earth orbit

Emily Lakdawalla • December 30, 2016

What's ahead for our intrepid space explorers in 2017? It'll be the end of Cassini, but not before the mission performs great science close to the rings. OSIRIS-REx will fly by Earth, and Chang'e 5 will launch to the Moon, as a host of other spacecraft continue their ongoing missions.

What's up in the solar system, November 2016 edition: Cassini takes a leap, ExoMars starts science, Long March 5 launch

Emily Lakdawalla • November 01, 2016

Cassini is going to make a major change to its orbit, getting much close to Saturn, setting up 20 "F-ring" orbits. ExoMars will get two science orbits before beginning aerobraking. Long March 5 will have its first launch, while many Earth-observing missions, including Himawari-9 and GOES-R, will go up. But Juno science is on hold.

DPS/EPSC update on New Horizons at the Pluto system and beyond

Emily Lakdawalla • October 25, 2016

Last week's Division for Planetary Sciences/European Planetary Science Congress meeting was chock-full of science from New Horizons at Pluto.

Alan Stern & New Horizons Team Receive Cosmos Award

Jim Bell • October 12, 2016

Alan Stern and the New Horizons mission team are the newest recipients of The Planetary Society's Cosmos Award for Outstanding Public Presentation of Science.

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