Star Trek Makes Its Mark On Pluto’s Moon Charon

Evocative, isn’t it? That’s Pluto’s largest moon Charon against a star field, illuminated by the faint light reflected from nearby Pluto. The right edge of the moon just catches the sunlight from the side and shows as a bright crescent. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft was already about 100,000 miles (150,000 km) beyond Pluto when the…
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Pluto’s Heart May Throb With A Salty Ocean

Remember Pluto’s big, white, icy heart? A new study, led by Brown University geologist Brandon Johnson, says there’s a good chance that beneath that ice, there’s 62 miles (100 km) of liquid water. And it’s super salty, similar to the Dead Sea. The research focused on Sputnik Planum, a basin 560 miles (900 km) across that makes up…
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Destination Red / Pluto’s Partly Cloudy Skies

Red it is! NASA’s New Horizons mission, which flew past Pluto last July, is on its way to another asteroid that bears a colorful resemblance to the dwarf planet. Observations made with the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that 2014 MU69, a small icy asteroid in the Kuiper Belt about a billion miles (1.6 billion km) beyond…
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The Mystery Of Pluto’s X-Ray Glow

If you’ve been to a dentist, you’re probably familiar with X-rays. Like the colors purple and red, X-rays are a “color” of light but one invisible to the human eye. If there were X-ray-sensing life forms, who knows what hue they’d see, but it would have a color. Even though X-rays are invisible, they have many…
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Take A Trip Down The Strip — Best Closeups Of Pluto Yet

A new, detailed mosaic slice of Pluto, which I’ve chopped into seven pieces, each representing a sample of a different terrain, was released by NASA on May 27. It includes all of the highest-resolution images taken by NASA’s New Horizons probe as it flew past Pluto on July 14 last year. It extends across the hemisphere that faced the…
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