Category Archives: Space exploration

The Wild Chemistry, Geology, and Everything Else of Pluto

I just got back from the American Astronomical Society’s winter conference, and let me tell you, there was a lot of great science going on there, but I wanted to focus particularly on the latest findings about Pluto. Pluto’s geology … Continue reading

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More on Pluto: Nitrogen Glaciers and a Hazy Atmosphere

NASA has released its final batch of findings and images of Pluto from New Horizons until the main bulk of the data starts downloading in September, and there’s a lot more interesting stuff to see. Most of Pluto’s appearance is … Continue reading

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Pluto Update: Mountains, Moats, and Methane

New images from space missions are often slow to be released. The Deep Space Network isn’t exactly broadband, and they have to process the images to make them look presentable. But we still have a few new shots of Pluto … Continue reading

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Weird and Active Pluto and Charon

The New Horizons spacecraft successfully completed its flyby of Pluto on Tuesday and collected all the scientific data it was planned to without a hitch. On Wednesday, we got our first pick at what these new data revealed. Methane Ice … Continue reading

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Pluto Update: Pictures and Video!

Update: New Horizons is alive! The flyby went as planned with no computer glitches. All the data appears to be there. Also NASA TV is working now, and UStream appears to be offline, so click there for the press conferences. … Continue reading

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Breaking News: Pluto is the Largest Dwarf Planet!

At this writing, the New Horizons spacecraft is only hours away from its closest approach to Pluto. Except in the unlikely event that it crashes into something (*knocks on wood*) or the more likely event that its computer crashes (*knocks … Continue reading

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Mapping the galaxy: Gaia takes off in time for Christmas

Measuring distances in space is hard. Measuring them accurately is very hard, mainly because everything is so far away. The best method is to look at the stars from places that are very far apart. Like, say, the same place … Continue reading

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