As NASA continues to examine the treasure trove of data from the New Horizons project, one interesting phenomenon at Pluto's equator has been identified as massive ice blades made of methane. Read the rest
Astronomical artist Björn Jónsson stitched together still images captured by the New Horizons spacecraft as it flew past the dwarf planet Pluto last month. Read the rest
Images of celestial bodies are not typically photographed in the same way as, say, your cat. Wired's Jenna Garrett explains the complexity—and authenticity—of the technology that captures Pluto for our awestruck observation. Read the rest
At a press conference this afternoon, NASA revealed the first close-up details of the surface of Pluto. Read the rest
Aww. Poor little Pluto.
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is expected to radio home any minute now. We're watching on NASA TV. The moment will end a nearly 22-hour radio blackout as the probe focused on a series of close-up observations of Pluto and its moons.
From SpaceFlight Now:
Engineers expect to lock on to a carrier signal, then start receiving housekeeping data on the status of the New Horizons spacecraft. No science data will come down during Tuesday night’s pass.
“The reason why you’re not seeing more things immediately is because the spacecraft is spending all its time making the observations of the Pluto system,” says Hal Weaver, New Horizons’ project sciences from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. “That’s what we wanted to do. Of course, you want to optimize the scientific return from the mission.
A signal from New Horizons will be a celebratory moment for the hundreds of engineers and scientists working on the mission. The cessation of communications was part of the plan going into the flyby because New Horizons carries a fixed antenna, meaning mission managers have to choose between contacting Earth and conducting scientific work at Pluto.