New Horizons Pluto Encounter
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Five new papers with the latest, comprehensive results from New Horizons were published in the journal Science today. The results cover many topics relating to geology, composition, atmosphere, and the plasma/particle environment of the Pluto system. Click here for a summary of the top 10 new results: Click here for the articles in the Journal Science:

2016-03-18 13:01:27


New false-color images, derived from observations in infrared light by the Ralph/Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) instrument, shows where the spectral features of water ice are abundant on Pluto’s surface. Also, New Horizons has sent back the first infrared image of the atmosphere made with data from the New Horizons Ralph/LEISA instrument, which shows a blue ring around Pluto caused by sunlight scattering from haze particles. Read more at:

2016-01-30 17:38:16


The New Horizons PI and team reflect on the “year of Pluto”, and the U.S. Postal Service has previewed the New Year’s series of stamps highlighting NASA’s Planetary Science program, including a set of stamps commemorating the NASA New Horizons’ historic 2015 flyby (featuring one design with Pluto, and one of the New Horizons spacecraft). The stamps will be available for purchase by late May of 2016. PI and Team retrospectives: 2016 Planetary Stamps:

2016-01-03 17:41:37


The sharpest views Pluto taken by New Horizons have been returned to Earth. The images show enhanced detail over many surface features, including fascinating pits in Pluto’s prominent heart-shaped feature, details in the mountains along the northern edge of the heart, and subsurface layering in crater walls. See both black and white and color high resolution images at:

2015-12-11 14:12:46


From possible ice volcanoes to geologically diverse surfaces to oddly behaving moons that could have formed through mergers of smaller moons, Pluto system discoveries continue to surprise scientists on NASA’s New Horizons mission team.​ The New Horizons team is discussing numerous findings at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) this week in National Harbor, Maryland. Just four months after the spacecraft encountered Pluto, science team members are presenting more than 50 reports on exciting discoveries. ​​See the discovery press conference slides at: or

2015-11-09 12:16:08


NASA has unveiled mosaics of Pluto and its largest moon Charon, representing the global response to its popular “#PlutoTime” social media campaign. The Pluto Time concept and widget was developed by the New Horizons science team so that people could experience the approximate sunlight level on Pluto at noon—generally around dawn or dusk on Earth. See more at:

2015-10-21 13:35:14


New Horizons News Subscriber Alert: New Horizons finds Blue Skies and Water Ice on Pluto Date: 10/9/15 The first color images of Pluto’s atmospheric hazes, returned by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft last week, reveal that Pluto’s sunsets and sunrises are blue. In a second major finding, New Horizons has detected numerous small, exposed regions of water ice on Pluto. See more at:

2015-10-09 13:26:06


NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has returned the best color and the highest resolution images yet of Pluto’s largest moon, Charon – and these pictures show a surprisingly complex and violent history. See high resolution images and a video fly-over of Charon’s fascinating surface features at:

2015-10-01 15:53:48


A new view of Pluto’s crescent – taken by New Horizons’ wide-angle Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC) on July 14 and downlinked to Earth on Sept. 13 – offers an oblique look across Plutonian landscapes with dramatic backlighting from the sun. It spectacularly highlights Pluto’s varied terrains and extended atmosphere. See more at

2015-09-18 10:42:15


The new close-up images reveal Pluto’s complex surface features in stunning detail. New Horizons began its yearlong download of new images and other data over the Labor Day weekend. Images downlinked in the past few days have more than doubled the amount of Pluto’s surface seen at resolutions as good as 400 meters (440 yards) per pixel. See more at

2015-09-11 14:40:37


NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits nearly a billion miles beyond Pluto. A series of engine burns are scheduled for October, which will set New Horizons on course to rendezvous with the small KBO on January 1st, 2019. Learn more at

2015-08-30 15:30:16


The New Horizons blog features articles written by team members and highlights the science and engineering activities carried out to further our understanding of the Pluto system. Check out the first post: Atmospheric Escape and Flowing N2 Ice Glaciers – What Resupplies Pluto’s Nitrogen? Is it coming from impacting comets, or from within Pluto itself? New Horizons researcher Kelsi Singer examines the possible sources of nitrogen on Pluto.

2015-08-13 13:59:04


Members of NASA’s New Horizons team will hold a science update at 2 p.m. EDT Friday, July 24, to reveal new images and discuss latest science results from the spacecraft’s historic July 14 flight through the Pluto system. NASA Television will carry the briefing live.

2015-07-24 09:42:54


A new close-up image of an equatorial region near the base of Pluto's bright heart-shaped feature shows a mountain range with peaks jutting as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) above the surface of the icy body. Charon also has a captivating feature—a depression with a large mountain/peak in the middle. Read about Pluto’s mountains at: And read more about Charon's features at:

2015-07-16 18:36:17


The large dark areas are now estimated to be 300 miles (480 kilometers) across, an area roughly the size of the state of Missouri. The spots appear on the side of Pluto that always faces its largest moon, Charon—the face that will be invisible to New Horizons when the spacecraft makes its close flyby the morning of July 14. Read more at:

2015-07-12 10:18:39


Data from New Horizons is confirming that Pluto and Charon are very different bodies, even though they have shared their mutual orbit for billions of years. The latest images from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) show a high-contrast array of bright and dark features cover Pluto's surface, while on Charon, only a dark polar region interrupts a generally more uniform light gray terrain. See the latest images at

2015-07-10 13:37:47


The new map combines images from June 27 to July 3 by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on New Horizons, and also lower-resolution color data from the spacecraft’s Ralph instrument. The dark and bright regions are beginning to be resolved! See the latest press release at: You can also download a kmz file for use in google Earth, to make your own google Pluto!

2015-07-08 07:22:47


New color images from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft show two very different faces of the mysterious dwarf planet, one with a bright spot and the other with a series of intriguing spots along the equator that are evenly spaced. See the latest press releases at: Also checkout the new video series called “Pluto in a Minute”:

2015-07-02 07:12:32


Thirty-seven years after its discovery, Pluto’s moon Charon is coming into view, and appears to have a dark north polar region. See latest press releases about both Pluto and Charon:

2015-06-25 09:13:43


The color imager on board New Horizons has revealed the overall colors of Pluto and Charon: Pluto is an orange-beige and Charon is grey. More details will emerge as New Horizons draws nearer to the Pluto-Charon system. Learn more and see Pluto and Charon in color at

2015-06-19 16:24:03


Join us on Friday June 19th, 2:30-3:30 EDT, for a discussion of what we have seen so far of Pluto and its system of moons, ask your questions, and learn how you can follow along with the discoveries in the final month leading up to the closest approach of the New Horizons spacecraft on July 14th, 2015. Join here:

2015-06-18 11:27:15


Pluto's different hemispheres show distinct patterns of bright, dark, and intermediate brightness regions. See these features as they are beginning to be resolved by the New Horizons LORRI camera at .

2015-06-12 14:28:58


We are getting closer to Pluto every day and the images are twice as good as those taken last month. Check out the surface features as they are starting to appear on Pluto at

2015-05-28 07:28:05


New Horizons has detected the smallest and faintest known moons of Pluto, Kerberos and Styx. As the spacecraft gets closer to Pluto it will search for new moons or rings. See the family portrait video at

2015-05-12 20:55:50


Images taken by the LOng Range Reconnaissance camera on New Horizons in April have started to reveal the pattern of bright and dark areas on Pluto. A bright region at the pole may be indicative of a polar cap. See the images and a new movie of Pluto and Charon's mutual orbit at:

2015-04-30 08:00:39


The Multi-spectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) has acquired the first color pictures of Pluto and Charon ever taken by a spacecraft on approach! See the color image at

2015-04-14 16:54:33


New Horizons and Yuri’s Night are teaming up for a Google Hangout “celebration” of humanity’s exploration of the solar system. Join us on this voyage of discovery, Sunday, April 12th, 2-3 pm EDT!

2015-04-06 16:00:29


What do we know about Pluto, and what can we learn? Join New Horizons team members for a discussion about the history and future of our understanding of Pluto on a New Horizons google hangout this Friday April 3, 2015, 11 am Mountain time (1 pm Eastern).

2015-03-31 15:44:29


New Horizons has successfully completed its second optical navigation campaign and resulted in a decision for a 1.14 m/s burn on Tuesday, March 10th to refine our aim point. From these LORRI optical navigation images we also produced a new movie of Pluto and Charon’s in their orbital dance (, and detected the moons Nix and Hydra! (

2015-03-09 13:00:07


The LORRI camera on New Horizons has started its first imaging campaign of encounter operations and is performing as scheduled. These images are taken for optical navigation, which will help us reduce our predicted aim point errors from a few thousand to a few hundred kilometers as we approach Pluto.

2015-01-27 16:40:36


New Horizons made the cover of the January edition of American Scientist, the February edition of Astronomy, and is highlighted in the January 5th edition of Time magazine. Learn more by reading any of these articles—pass it on!

2015-01-12 14:42:55


It's New Year's Eve 2014, which means it’s finally Pluto Eve! New Horizons encounters Pluto next July! We’re glad you’re following along with us for the exciting milestones, have a safe celebration of New Years. 2015 Awaits

2014-12-31 12:15:00


New Horizons has awoken from its last hibernation of cruise and the team is prepping for encounter observations that will start January 15th!

2014-12-06 15:00:00


A team of New Horizons scientists were able to identify three potential KBO targets for the spacecraft to flyby in ~2018 if an extended mission is approved. They were found using NASA’s Hubble Telescope.

2014-10-15 08:00:00


Using its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), New Horizons made its first detection of Pluto's small, faint, outermost known moon, Hydra.

2014-09-12 08:00:00


New Horizons achieved the last planet orbit crossing before the Pluto encounter, and it happened to occur on the 25th anniversary of the Neptune encounter by NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft! Neptune was not very close to us (3+ billion miles away), but we still took some distant observations.

2014-08-25 08:00:00


A new movie is available on the New Horizons website featuring actual observations of Charon orbiting Pluto in images from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), taken from just over 2 Astronomical Units from the Pluto system.

2014-08-07 08:00:00