Latest Pluto Stories
Bad weather forced NASA to scrub its first planned launch of an unmanned spacecraft on a nine-year voyage to Pluto, the solar system's last unexplored planet, and strong winds were threatening another delay Wednesday.
In the not-too-distant past, the planet Pluto was thought to be an odd bird in the outer reaches of the solar system because it has a moon, Charon, that was formed much like Earth's own moon was formed. But Pluto is getting a lot of company these days. Of the four largest objects in the Kuiper belt, three have one or more moons.
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA on Tuesday delayed the liftoff of its first probe to Pluto because of high winds and rescheduled the launch for Wednesday, officials at the U.S. space agency said.
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A massive rocket designed to give NASA's first Pluto probe a high-speed kick out of Earth's gravity was rolled out to the launch pad on Monday in preparation for liftoff.
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA's first space probe to Pluto, set to lift off on Tuesday, will use radioactive plutonium pellets to power much of its expected nine-year journey to the far reaches of the solar system. The U.S.
Cliff Friedman's name may go far in Dallas real estate circles, but that doesn't come close to the 3 billion-mile trip it will begin in a few weeks.
It will be the fastest spacecraft ever launched, zooming past the moon in nine hours and reaching Jupiter in just over a year at a speed nearly 100 times that of a jetliner. Its target is Pluto - the solar system's last unexplored planet, 3 billion miles from Earth.
Observing a very rare occultation of a star by Pluto's satellite Charon from three different sites, including Paranal, home of the VLT, astronomers were able to determine with great accuracy the radius and density of the satellite to the farthest planet.
Mercury is boiling. Mars is freezing. The Earth is just right. When it comes to the temperatures of the planets, it makes sense that they should get colder the farther away they are from the Sun. But then there is Pluto.
The New Horizons spacecraft, scheduled for launch in mid-January, will investigate the far-off planet Pluto and its icy moons. This will be the first spacecraft to study the Pluto system, as well as the mysterious outer region of our solar system known as the Kuiper Belt.
Planet -- A planet is a body of considerable mass that orbits a star and that doesn't produce energy through nuclear fusion. Until recently, only nine were known (all of them in our own Solar system). As of the end of 2002 over 100 are known, with all of the new discoveries being extrasolar planets. Astronomers often call asteroids minor planets, and call the larger planetary bodies (those which are commonly called planets) major planets. Planets within the solar system can be...
Asteroid -- An asteroid, also called a minor planet or planetoid, is a member of a group of small, planet-like bodies that are part of our solar system. They are believed to be remnants of the interstellar clouds, nebula, that were not incorporated into planets during the formation of the solar system. The largest asteroid in the inner solar system is Ceres with a diameter of 1003 km. It also was the first to be discovered, by Giuseppe Piazzi on January 1, 1801. Nowadays, over 9000...
Quaoar -- Quaoar ("kwah-oh-ahr", /kwA o Ar/) is a Trans-Neptunian object circling the Sun in the Kuiper belt, discovered in 2002 by astronomers Chad Trujillo and Mike Brown at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. Quaoar is estimated to have a diameter of about 1,280 kilometres, which would make it the largest Solar System object discovered since Pluto and, indeed, the largest known minor planet. Larger than all the asteroids put together, it is about one...
Kuiper Belt -- The Kuiper belt is an area of the solar system extending outwards from the orbit of Neptune (at 30 AU) to 50 AU. The largest of the objects in the Kuiper belt are the planet Pluto and its moon Charon. A new Kuiper belt object, currently called 2001 KX76, has been found that is about the size of Charon, and larger than Ceres. Another such object, Quaoar, discovered in 2002, is half the size of Pluto. Other known Kuiper belt objects are progressively smaller. The exact...
Planet Charon -- Charon is the only known satellite of Pluto. Charon was discovered by astronomer James Christy in 1978 using photographic plates which showed a bulge moving around Pluto. Christy named it after the Greek mythological figure Charon but pronounced it differently. The "ch" at the beginning of the moon's name is soft so it sounds like "Sharon," after the astronomer's wife Charlene, nicknamed Char, which both have soft ch sounds. The mythological figure's name is...
- Growing in low tufty patches.