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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 >>

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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 >>

astronomy
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 >>

space
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 >>

science
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 >>

space
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 >>

space
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 >>

space
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 >>

space
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 >>

space
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 >>

space
Tiny Object With Very Silly Name Could Be the Next Dwarf Planet

When we think of dwarf planets, the first thing that comes to mind is obviously the injustice of Pluto getting demoted to one. But the truth is, these little guys—and there are six currently recognised within our solar system—deserve just as much love as their mightier planetary cousins. Good news for them: a new study suggests that the dwarf planet club could get another member, in the form of a very small, distant object located roughly 92 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun. Read More >>

space
Pluto Is All Lit Up In This New Composite Photo

You know when you've just broken up with someone, so you post the best selfie you can find? Looks like Pluto's getting over being dropped from the planetary Cool Club by doing exactly the same. Except it's not a selfie. Planets can't take selfies. Read More >>

space
The Word ‘Planet’ is So Important, and Yet Such Bullshit

Millennials have already lost so much: A relatively secure housing market, the hope of stable careers, and an Earth that wasn’t completely littered with the mistakes of Baby Boomers. So when Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet in 2006, it was another nail in our fragile hearts. But that hasn’t stopped astronomers of all ages debating about whether or not Pluto—and other objects in our solar system—are, in fact, planets. Pluto could be a planet, because the very word “planet” is kinda ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, even for experts. Read More >>

space
The Pluto System Is Officially the Underworld Realm Now

If you know your mythology, you’re already familiar with Pluto’s spooktacular namesake; the lovable dwarf planet is named after the Roman god of the underworld, also known as Hades in Greek mythology. He was chiefly in charge of judging the dead, which sounds like one hell of a great gig. Read More >>

space
NASA Scientists Have a Plan to Make Pluto a Planet Again

“It’s bullshit,” Alan Stern, principle investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto, has said about the demotion of Pluto from the ranks of official planet status. Now Stern is heading up a team of NASA scientists who have proposed a new definition of planets that would do more than just reinstate the icy dwarf planet with the big heart to its former glory. Read More >>