New Horizons

NASA image shows ‘snail’ traveling across Pluto

NASA image shows ‘snail’ traveling across Pluto

It may not be as interesting as crabs on Mars, but a relatively new NASA picture shows what some say is a snail-like being on Pluto. The image was captured by the New Horizons spacecraft as it made a flyby of the planet back in July. Pictured in a somewhat barren landscape is a ‘snail,’ or better put, an object that looks like a snail. Some enthusiasts hope it is a glimpse of alien life, but the real answer is (probably) far more mundane.

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NASA shows Pluto’s space weather and close-ups

NASA shows Pluto’s space weather and close-ups

NASA reveals a new collection of Pluto flyby photos and a gorgeous video showing space weather around the dwarf planet. Releases of this sort have been numerous over the past several months as NASA passed by Pluto back in July. Indeed since the moment the New Horizons mission passed closest to the dwarf planet, the public has been asking: where are the photos? Of course NASA has been releasing photos several times a week since then - and now come the close-ups.

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NASA releases Pluto ‘family portrait’ with smallest moon Kerberos

NASA releases Pluto ‘family portrait’ with smallest moon Kerberos

While NASA's spacecraft New Horizons already completed its flyby of Pluto over three months ago, some of its latest photos have been transmitted to Earth, revealing a new look at the former planet's smallest moon, Kerberos. In addition to finally getting a completed "family portrait" of Pluto and its five moons, NASA says it's realized that Kerberos is much smaller than previously thought. The pixellated photo of the moon above is actually a combination of four separate images.

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Pluto has pits likely made by ice

Pluto has pits likely made by ice

It's no secret that Pluto has ice across its face, appearing with more than a couple bits of proof since NASA's closest approach earlier this year. NASA mission New Horizons sought out the surface of this planet-like space body, coming near enough that they're now presenting photos that are about 130 miles (210 kilometers) across. The image we're seeing today shows a collection of small pits and troughs, created - more than likely - by icy liquids, forming solidly then evaporating away over time.

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Pluto’s sky and ice revealed: blue and red

Pluto’s sky and ice revealed: blue and red

The sky on Pluto is blue, NASA showed the world today, and the ground has water ice. While other sorts of more "volatile" ices appear to mask the water ice found around the planet, some water ice can be seen in photos captured by New Horizons spacecraft earlier this year. Much of this water ice is surrounded by what NASA scientists call "reddish tholin colorants" on the surface of Pluto. Many of these photos are still arriving in the NASA labs for analyzation.

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New Pluto photos are strangest yet: “Snakeskin” topography

New Pluto photos are strangest yet: “Snakeskin” topography

A set of photos released by NASA today shows off a piece of landscape that looks like snakeskin, hundreds of miles long. "[This new landscape] looks more like tree bark or dragon scales than geology," said William McKinnon, New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging (GGI) team deputy lead from Washington University in St. Louis. "Maybe it's some combination of internal tectonic forces and ice sublimation driven by Pluto's faint sunlight... This'll really take time to figure out."

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NASA’s newest Pluto photos are breathtaking

NASA’s newest Pluto photos are breathtaking

Pluto photos continue to be shipped from New Horizon's flyby completed earlier this year, and today's are just fantastic. What you're about to see is a set of photo captured just 15 minutes after the craft's closest approach to Pluto, centering in on the plains informally known as Sputnik Planum (right) and the informally named Norgay Montes mountains on the left near the Hillary Montes near the skyline in the upper left. This first photo was captured at a distance of 11,000 miles (18,000 kilometers) from Pluto, and the photo shows a scene approximately 780 miles (1,250 kilometers) wide.

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NASA’s New Horizons sends home new photos of Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons sends home new photos of Pluto

It's been some time since NASA's New Horizons probe completed its flyby of Pluto, but the agency has just released the first batch of latest images to get sent back to Earth. Among the stunning new views of the dwarf planet are a mosaic that gives the perspective of being 1,100 miles (1,800km) above its equator, along with a variety of images showing the diverse landscape, including craters, icy plains, and valleys.

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New Horizons’ next target after Pluto flyby revealed

New Horizons’ next target after Pluto flyby revealed

NASA spacecraft New Horizons completed its historic flyby of dwarf planet Pluto back in July, so what's next for the little spacecraft? It looks like it's going to be 2014 MU69, a comet-like object that lies some 1.5 billion km beyond Pluto, NASA has said. The space agency is still reviewing the mission plan, but if approved New Horizons will reach 2014 MU69 in January of 2019. The 45 km diameter object is significant as scientists believe it might be the starting form of planets like Pluto.

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Dark side of the Pluto captured by New Horizons

Dark side of the Pluto captured by New Horizons

Today NASA reveals an image of Pluto that captures the night side of the dwarf planet. Unlike our own moon, the dark side of Pluto isn't quite such a prevailing "mystery" as it rotates. We've essentially seem at least blurry images of all parts of Pluto. This image captures the dwarf planet's atmosphere. From the side of the spherical space body that's facing away from the sun at the time of image capture, this photo was taken after NASA's New Horizons mission had already completed its closest pass.

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Pluto: second icy mountain range revealed in new image

Pluto: second icy mountain range revealed in new image

Last week, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft gave us some up-close, detailed images of Pluto's landscape and geology, including a look at an icy mountain range. Now, only a few days later, NASA has released another image that reveals a second mountain range, with peaks between half a mile and one mile in height. The range is located near the southwestern part of Pluto's now famous heart-shaped spot, about 68 miles from Norgay Montes, the first mountain range that was photographed.

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New Horizons reveal Pluto’s wildly varied landscape

New Horizons reveal Pluto’s wildly varied landscape

This morning the folks behind NASA's New Horizons mission revealed the heart of Pluto. What the New Horizons crew revealed today is a number of deep differences in areas on different sides of the planet. They've also gone over the escaping atmosphere surrounding Pluto. What we're able to see here is a set of two - at least two - very different sorts of landscape on the dwarf planet Pluto. Today's lesson is this - Pluto is not just one simple, flat piece of rock. It's not even just a lumpy rock - it's a whole lot more complicated than that.

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