The New Horizons mission has formally selected its next target after Pluto: a tiny, dim, frozen world currently named 2014 MU69. The spacecraft will perform a series of four rocket firings in October and November to angle its trajectory to pass close by 2014 MU69 in early January 2019. In so doing, New Horizons will
The structure may help scientists identify radiation-remediation strategies in space. Since the early 1970s, orbiting satellites have picked up on noise-like plasma waves very close to the Earth’s magnetic field equator. This “equatorial noise,” as it was then named, seemed to be an unruly mess of electric and magnetic fields oscillating at different frequencies in
The latest images from New Horizons are showing Pluto and Charon to have unique faces, distinct from any other icy worlds in the solar system. New Horizons images have dramatically reduced uncertainty in Pluto's diameter. Stern reported Pluto's radius to be 1185 +/- 10 kilometers, so its diameter is 2370 +/- 20 km. Implications of
Up till now, 2015 has been a year of historic, ever bigger revelations regarding some of the Solar System’s “lesser bodies”, with ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft returning breath-taking close-up images of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and NASA’s Dawn mission providing stunning views of dwarf planet Ceres in the vast expanses of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
On March 12, 2015, NASA plans to launch the Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, mission. MMS consists of four identical spacecraft that will orbit around Earth through the dynamic magnetic system surrounding our planet to study a little-understood phenomenon called magnetic reconnection. The MMS mission is a Solar Terrestrial Probes mission comprising four identically instrumented
Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt, and NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will arrive at this dwarf planet on March 6, 2015. Pluto is the largest object in the Kuiper belt, and NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will arrive at this dwarf planet on July 15, 2015. These two events will make 2015 an exciting
The Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, is a spacecraft which will orbit between Earth and the sun, observing and providing advanced warning of particles and magnetic fields emitted by the sun (known as the solar wind) which can affect power grids, communications systems, and satellites close to Earth. From its post at the Lagrange
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft returned its first new images of Pluto on Wednesday, as the probe closes in on the dwarf planet. Although still just a dot along with its largest moon, Charon, the images come on the 109th birthday of Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered the distant icy world in 1930. “My dad would be
Having accomplished another month of ion thrusting, and now more than two years after embarking on its journey away from protoplanet Vesta, Dawn is beginning its approach phase to dwarf planet Ceres. Early in December, Dawn obtained its first resolved photo of Ceres, spanning nine pixels. Its next pictures will be taken on Jan. 13.
Wind -- along with 17 other missions – is part of what's called the Heliophysics Systems Observatory, a fleet of spacecraft dedicated to understanding how the sun and its giant explosions affect Earth, the planets and beyond. Wind launched on Nov. 1, 1994, with the goal of characterizing the constant stream of particles from the