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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Dwarf Planet Makemake Divulges A Dark Moon

Far, far away beyond the planet Neptune lies the Kuiper Belt, a vast reservoir of frozen orbs left over from the construction phase of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago. Four of them are dwarf planets, the most famous of which is Pluto with its system of five moons. Another is Makemake (MAH-kee MAH-kee),…
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