New Horizons

The best Pluto photos from New Horizons so far

The best Pluto photos from New Horizons so far

New Horizons successfully reaches and passes Pluto, taking photos during a 22-hour period of observation. What we're doing here is collecting the best of the best - which, incidentally, may end up being the whole collection. Straight from NASA to your eyeballs, these are the first images of Pluto from within several thousand miles of the dwarf planet. You can also have a peek at a large set of images captured over the past few weeks by New Horizons by hitting up our New Horizons tag portal.

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New Horizons phones home to say it’s OK

New Horizons phones home to say it’s OK

Pluto may be the god of death, but that has no bearing on NASA's greatest achievement yet. Dozens of sleep-deprived, and most likely teary-eyed, scientists and engineers at NASA awaited in both anticipation and dread as New Horizon's diagnostics data came flowing in a bit before 9 PM Eastern. The good news? New Horizons is safe and sound and didn't encounter any space debris that endangered its flight or its existence. The bad news? Now it has to beam down tons of data for scientists to drool over for the next months, even years!

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We’ve passed Pluto – where are the photos?

We’ve passed Pluto – where are the photos?

Now that we've passed Pluto, you might be wondering why we're not looking at brand new up-close photos of all sorts. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has an antenna that must remain stationary at all times - it's not attached to a robotic arm or anything. Because of this, and because the craft was only passing extremely close to Pluto for a short period of time, the team wisely decided to utilize the time collecting data from our spacey cousin rather than sending back data as fast as they could. In short - photos and data are coming inside this week, just not right this minute.

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See the best color image of Pluto taken just before New Horizons flyby

See the best color image of Pluto taken just before New Horizons flyby

As NASA's New Horizons spacecraft approached Pluto for the much-anticipated flyby at 7:49 AM ET this morning, the agency released the final and best color image of Pluto yet to be taken. And because Pluto is such a social media celebrity, NASA even posted the image to Instagram first. The photo offer a stunningly clear look at Pluto, as it was taken from only 476,000 miles away, NASA said, at roughly 4:00 PM ET on July 13th.

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New Horizons proves Pluto is larger than we thought

New Horizons proves Pluto is larger than we thought

The problem with deducing composition and sizes through a telescope is that you won't really know how accurate or far off your models are until you get a first-hand, or even a second-hand close up. For decades, almost a century, that has been the problem with Pluto's size ever since it was discovered way back in 1930. Thanks to New Horizons, however, scientists are now able to turn that dream into reality and answer one of the biggest questions of all time: how big is Pluto really?

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As New Horizons passes Pluto, 22-hours of silence

As New Horizons passes Pluto, 22-hours of silence

NASA won't see any images or get any data from Pluto flyby mission New Horizons for 22 hours after it begins its closest flyby of the dwarf planet. There are two reasons for what's effectively a radio silence. The first reason is the applicable power. Every single resource the craft passing Pluto is capable of using will be going toward capturing imagery and data on and around Pluto. That should be obvious. We've waited years - we can wait a few more hours.

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Pluto approaching: New Horizons’ scientist answers 4 questions

Pluto approaching: New Horizons’ scientist answers 4 questions

New Horizons' Ralph Instrument Scientist Dennis Reuter speaks up today about th eminent approach of the mission to Pluto. Also speaking on his position with the Goddard Space observatory, Reuter tapped into Pluto and the exploration of the Kuiper Belt - our solar system's "last frontier." Reuter spoke up about the data collection this mission will execute, seeking out information on Pluto's chemical and atmospheric makeup using the Ralph spectrometer. This mission's apex will be reached tomorrow at 11:50 UTC - that's 4:50 AM Pacific Time, 7:50 AM Eastern Time.

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New Horizon’s weirdest cargo will warm your heart

New Horizon’s weirdest cargo will warm your heart

Aboard the New Horizons craft as it edges closer to Pluto than we've ever been before is carried the ashes of its discoverer. Astronomer Clyde Tombaugh was the man that discovered our celestial neighbor Pluto. Now - thanks to some thoughtful NASA engineers - Tombaugh's mortal remains will be the closest that have ever traveled to our most distant Solar System cousin. This week NASA spoke with Tombaugh's children. "My Dad always said if he ever had the chance," said Tombaugh's son "he’d love to visit the planets in the solar system and around other stars." Now he will.

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We can now watch Pluto rotate in space

We can now watch Pluto rotate in space

As New Horizons begins its final approach toward Pluto, NASA presents a Google Earth-mapped surface of the spinning space body. The final approach toward the planet has begun - this NASA-led mission will get within a few thousand miles of Pluto on the 14th of this month. Today we get our first spherical map of the planet as placed with Google Earth onto our own planet. Strange as that may sound, it provides as accurate a visual for the planet as we've ever seen. You've seen the flat images before - now watch Pluto spin in space.

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NASA shows off Pluto’s stunning Whale of a Feature

NASA shows off Pluto’s stunning Whale of a Feature

NASA's New Horizons probe is currently studying Pluto and scientists on the project have released a flat projection of visible parts of the sphere of Pluto that shows off a very interesting feature of the dwarf planet. Images so far have shows light and dark patches at the equator of Pluto including a long, dark band that has been dubbed "the whale."

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NASA’s New Horizons sends back more Pluto pics

NASA’s New Horizons sends back more Pluto pics

NASA has released the latest batch of photos its New Horizons spacecraft has taken of the dwarf planet Pluto, and in them we see a larger and somewhat less fuzzy version of the two shots from last week. Those same mysterious dark spots are visible in them, as are other crevices and shadows. There are three images total, and they were taken from July 1 to July 3 before the spacecraft had its brief operational hiccup. We've all three after the jump!

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New Horizons Pluto mission blinks out just days from goal

New Horizons Pluto mission blinks out just days from goal

Before you start having a heart attack at the idea that we won't get any closer to Pluto, take heed - New Horizons is now back online. For just a short period of time - right around an hour - the craft blinked offline. This was a radio communications glitch that seemed to fix itself - somehow or another - by 3:15pm EDT on the 4th of July, when everyone was out at the beach sipping on brewskies. Except NASA engineers, of course, who were on the task at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, making certain this wasn't an error that'd have the craft offline just days before it reaches its closest point to Pluto.

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