What Would It Be Like to Take a Road Trip Across Pluto?

You begin to wake up from stasis as your lander descends to Pluto’s surface. You strain to locate the Sun in the sky as you peek out the window; you finally spot it at the zenith as you wipe your eyes. Though brighter than anything else in the sky, the Sun is now 40 times farther than it was when you were on Earth, and it provides less than one-thousandth the light. Though it’s noon on the dwarf planet’s surface, it still feels like night: All the stars are visible, though a blue haze seems to ring the horizon and give the lowest stars a slight twinkle. Mountainous features are mostly dim silhouettes against the starry sky. Read More >>

Fresh Look at New Horizons Data Shows Pluto’s ‘Far Side’ in Unprecedented Detail

When New Horizons zipped past Pluto on 14 July 2015, the NASA spacecraft was only able to observe one side of the dwarf planet. Scientists have now reviewed data collected by New Horizons during its approach and as it travelled away, resulting in the most detailed analysis yet of Pluto’s elusive far side. Read More >>

If Pluto Is a Planet, So Am I

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine declared Pluto a planet again in a video this week. I’m assuming Bridenstine was half-joking, since there is someone laughing in the background, and I think I see a smirk on his face. But now is a good a time as any to discuss the complicated issue of Pluto’s planethood. Read More >>

We’re Finally Learning More about MU69, the Strange, Flat Rock in the Outer Solar System

New Horizons mission scientists have released the first peer-reviewed results from their study of 2014 MU69, demonstrating just how “pristine” this object is. Read More >>

These New Maps of Pluto and Its Moon Charon Are the Most Detailed Yet

By meticulously stitching together photos taken from two cameras aboard the New Horizons spacecraft, a team of scientists has compiled the most accurate maps of Pluto and Charon to date. Read More >>

Astronomers Spot Surprising Evidence of Methane Dunes on Pluto

Astronomers peering closely at images of Pluto have spotted what look like dunes on the surface of the former planet. They wouldn’t be sand dunes, but dunes of methane ice — an Earthly feature on a totally alien world. Read More >>

Wild New Theory Suggests Pluto Formed From a Billion Comets

Pluto may not be a planet, but it remains one of the most intriguing objects in the outer Solar System. Its unexpected chemical composition has confounded scientists for years, but a new theory may finally hold the answer. Pluto, according to a pair of Southwest Research Institute scientists, is basically an overgrown comet. Read More >>

Pluto’s Moon Charon Now Has a Crater Called Dorothy, Among Other Newly Named Features

Up until July 2015, Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, was just a pixel in terms of what we knew about it. That all changed when NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zipped through the system, revealing craters, deep crevices, valleys, and mountains on the distant moon—surface features that now have formal names. Read More >>

We Might Need to Redefine ‘Planet’ Again

You may think you know what a planet is, but celestial bodies often refuse to fully comply with our artificial human labels. We all thought tiny Pluto was a planet, until the 2006 vote in which the International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefinition stripped it of its title. But when is something officially too big to be called a planet? Read More >>

Cool Theory Finally Explains Pluto’s Skyscraper-Sized Ice Shards

When NASA’s New Horizons space probe zipped past Pluto in 2015, it revealed portions of the dwarf planet’s surface were strewn with what could only be described as gigantic blades of ice, many of which extended into the Plutonian sky for hundreds of feet. Finally, after nearly two years of research, a team of scientists think they’ve figured out the nature of these odd features and how they came to appear on the surface. Read More >>

Pluto’s Features Just Got Some Seriously Metal Names From Mythology

We all know space is goth. Pluto, however, is the obvious metal baby of the solar system, shrouded in darkness at a distance of up to 4.67 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometres) from Earth. It’s only fitting that everyone’s favourite dwarf planet—named after the Roman god of the underworld—gets some seriously metal names for its mysterious regions. Read More >>

There’s Growing Evidence That Pluto’s Largest Moon Had a Massive Ocean

Pluto’s moon Charon is the best sidekick a dwarf planet could hope for: unwavering in its loyalty, content to be a minor character in somebody else’s narrative. But two years after the New Horizons flyby, the largest of Pluto’s five moons is finally getting some well-deserved time in the spotlight. New research suggests that Charon’s storied history includes tectonic activity, cryovolcanism, and perhaps, a globe-spanning ocean. Read More >>

Fly Over Pluto in this Incredibly Detailed New NASA Video

Pluto is the unquestionably the most goth (dwarf) planet in the solar system. Its cold, icy heart and underworld-themed moons are absolutely spooktacular, and yet none of us will ever get to see them in person. Thankfully, new video from NASA gives us an up close and personal tour of our favourite (former) planet. It’s almost as metal as the real deal. Read More >>

A Mysterious Mars-Sized Object Could Be Hiding at the Edge of Our Solar System

It’s been about 11 years since Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status, leaving a 1,473 mile (2,370 kilometres)-size void in our hearts. Since then, the hunt for Planet X—aptly renamed Planet 9—has grown into an international movement to find such an object in the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune’s orbit. Now, scientists Kat Volk and Renu Malhotra from the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory are upping the ante—they suggest that a completely different, tenth planetary-mass object is hiding somewhere in the Kuiper Belt as well. Is someone keeping track of all these goddamn hypothetical planets? Read More >>

Scientists Are Already Planning the Next Mission to Pluto

The Pluto-shaped void in our hearts has yet to be filled by Planet 9, copious amounts of Ben & Jerry’s, or anything. Ever since the summer of 2015, when NASA’s New Horizons performed a six-month-long reconnaissance flyby study of Pluto and its moons, fans of the dwarf planet have wondered if or when we’d ever go back. According to New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, he and some other planetary scientists are already drawing up the blueprint for a return trip—and this time, it’d be much more than just a flyby. Read More >>