The New Horizons spacecraft has been slowly sending back all the images and data it gathered during its July flyby of the Pluto system. The latest batch of images to arrive here on Earth contains some of the highest resolution views yet that it captured of Pluto’s surface, taken during the spacecraft’s closest approach.
The New Horizons spacecraft is already 209,437,000 km (130,138,000 miles) past Pluto (as of Dec. 4, 2015), making it 5,226,950,000 km (3,247,880,000 miles) from Earth. So, yes, it’s way out there. Recently, it took the closest images ever of a distant Kuiper Belt object, setting a record by a factor of at least 15, according to NASA. The team says this image demonstrates the spacecraft’s ability to observe numerous similar bodies over the next several years.
In the outer reaches of the Solar System, beyond the orbit of Neptune, lies a region permeated by celestial objects and minor planets. This region is known as the “Kuiper Belt“, and is named in honor of the 20th century astronomer who speculated about the existence of such a disc decades before it was observed. […]
Ice Volcanoes on Pluto? The informally named feature Wright Mons, located south of Sputnik Planum on Pluto, is an unusual feature that’s about 100 miles (160 kilometers) wide and 13,000 feet (4 kilometers) high. It displays a summit depression (visible in the center of the image) that’s approximately 35 miles (56 kilometers) across, with a […]
Host: Fraser Cain (@fcain) Special Guest: Mike Massimino, Former Astronaut; Senior Advisor for Space Programs at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum; Full-time instructor at Columbia University; Human-machine systems, space robotics, and human space flight. Guests: Morgan Rehnberg (cosmicchatter.org / @MorganRehnberg ) Kimberly Cartier (@AstroKimCartier )
Just like Luke and Leia, two craters named for the Star Wars twins (Skywalker and Organa) have many similarities. They look about the same size and shape, and appear to have been created at the same time, and therefore are about the same age. But instruments on the New Horizons spacecraft detected one major difference: […]