Pluto News, The Kuipers and Beyond
March 24, 2017
Scientists make the case to restore Pluto's planet status
Baltimore MD (SPX) Mar 21, 2017
Johns Hopkins University scientist Kirby Runyon wants to make one thing clear: Regardless of what one prestigious scientific organization says to the contrary, Pluto is a planet. So, he says, is Europa, commonly known as a moon of Jupiter, and so is the Earth's moon, and so are more than 100 other celestial bodies in our solar system that are denied this status under the prevailing definition of "planet." The definition approved by the International Astronomical Union in 2006 demoted Pluto to "non ... read more

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Juno to remain in current orbit at Jupiter
NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter, which has been in orbit around the gas giant since July 4, 2016, will remain in its current 53-day orbit for the remainder of the mission. This will allow Juno to acc ... more
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Europa Flyby Mission Moves into Design Phase
A mission to examine the habitability of Jupiter's ocean-bearing moon Europa is taking one step closer to the launchpad, with the recent completion of a major NASA review. On Feb. 15, NASA's E ... more
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NASA receives science report on Europa lander concept
A report on the potential science value of a lander on the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa has been delivered to NASA, and the agency is now engaging the broader science community to open a dis ... more
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New Horizons Refines Course for Next Flyby
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft completed a short propulsive maneuver Wednesday to refine its track toward a New Year's Day 2019 flyby past 2014 MU69, a Kuiper Belt object (KBO) some 4 billion miles ... more
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It's Never 'Groundhog Day' at Jupiter
NASA's Juno spacecraft will make its fourth flyby over Jupiter's mysterious cloud tops on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 4:57 a.m. PST (7:57 a.m. EST, 12:57 UTC). At the time of closest approach (called ... more
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Public to Choose Jupiter Picture Sites for NASA Juno
Where should NASA's Juno spacecraft aim its camera during its next close pass of Jupiter on Feb. 2? You can now play a part in the decision. For the first time, members of the public can vote to par ... more
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Experiment resolves mystery about wind flows on Jupiter
One mystery has been whether the jets exist only in the planet's upper atmosphere - much like the Earth's own jet streams - or whether they plunge into Jupiter's gaseous interior. If the latter is t ... more
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Pluto Global Color Map
This new, detailed global mosaic color map of Pluto is based on a series of three color filter images obtained by the Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera aboard New Horizons during the NASA sp ... more
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Lowell Observatory to renovate Pluto discovery telescope
The instrument at Lowell Observatory used by Clyde Tombaugh to discover Pluto will soon undergo renovation. The year-long project, set to begin on January 12, will include restoration of both the hi ... more
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Flying observatory makes observations of Jupiter previously only possible from space
For the first time since the twin Voyager spacecraft missions in 1979, scientists have produced far-infrared maps of Jupiter using NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA. The ... more
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How a moon slows the decay of Pluto's atmosphere
Pluto's relationship with its moon Charon is one of the more unusual interactions in the solar system due to Charon's size and proximity. It's more than half of Pluto's diameter and orbits only 12,0 ... more
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York U research identifies icy ridges on Pluto
Using a model similar to what meteorologists use to forecast weather on Earth and a computer simulation of the physics of evaporating ices, a new study published in the journal, Nature by York Unive ... more
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Exploring Pluto and the Wild Back Yonder
As 2016 ends, I can't help but point out an interesting symmetry in where the mission has recently been and where we are going. Exactly two years ago we had just taken New Horizons out of cruise hib ... more
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Juno Captures Jupiter 'Pearl'
This image, taken by the JunoCam imager on NASA's Juno spacecraft, highlights the seventh of eight features forming a 'string of pearls on Jupiter - massive counterclockwise rotating storms that app ... more
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Juno Mission Prepares for December 11 Jupiter Flyby
On Sunday, December 11, at 9:04 a.m. PST (12:04 p.m. EST, 17:04 UTC) NASA's Juno spacecraft will make its third science flyby of Jupiter. At the time of closest approach (called perijove), Jun ... more
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Research Offers Clues About the Timing of Jupiter's Formation
A peculiar class of meteorites has offered scientists new clues about when the planet Jupiter took shape and wandered through the solar system. Scientists have theorized for years now that Jupiter p ... more
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New Perspective on How Pluto's "Icy Heart" Came to Be
Pluto's "icy heart" is a bright, two-lobed feature on its surface that has attracted researchers ever since its discovery by the NASA New Horizons team in 2015. Of particular interest is the heart's ... more
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Pluto follows its cold, cold heart
Sputnik Planitia, a 1,000-kilometer wide basin within the iconic heart-shaped region observed on Pluto's surface, could be in its present location because accumulation of ice made the dwarf planet r ... more
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New analysis adds to support for a subsurface ocean on Pluto
A liquid ocean lying deep beneath Pluto's frozen surface is the best explanation for features revealed by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, according to a new analysis. The idea that Pluto has a subsu ... more
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New Analysis Supports Subsurface Ocean on Pluto
A liquid ocean lying deep beneath Pluto's frozen surface is the best explanation for features revealed by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, according to a new analysis. The idea that Pluto has a subsu ... more
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Mystery solved behind birth of Saturn's rings
A team of researchers has presented a new model for the origin of Saturn's rings based on results of computer simulations. The results of the simulations are also applicable to rings of other giant ... more
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Last Bits of 2015 Pluto Flyby Data Received on Earth
NASA's New Horizons mission reached a major milestone this week when the last bits of science data from the Pluto flyby - stored on the spacecraft's digital recorders since July 2015 - arrived safel ... more
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Uranus may have two undiscovered moons
NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by Uranus 30 years ago, but researchers are still making discoveries from the data it gathered then. A new study led by University of Idaho researchers suggests ther ... more
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Possible Clouds on Pluto, Next Target is Reddish
The next target for NASA's New Horizons mission - which made a historic flight past Pluto in July 2015 - apparently bears a colorful resemblance to its famous, main destination. NASA's Hubble ... more
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