New Horizons is a NASA robotic spacecraft mission currently en route to the dwarf planet Pluto. It is expected to be the first spacecraft to fly by and study Pluto and its moons, Charon, Nix, Hydra, S/2011 P 1, and S/2012 P 1, with an estimated arrival date at the PlutoâCharon system of July 14, 2015. NASA may then also attempt flybys of one or more other Kuiper belt objects, if a suitable target can be located.
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is currently seven years into its nine-and-a-half-year journey across the Solar System to explore Pluto. Since its launch in 2006, however, astronomers have discovered two more moons orbiting the dwarf-planet, which now pose a grave threat to the spacecraft’s initial navigation course because of space debris orbiting them. “We’ve found more and [...]
Astronomers have discovered a new moon orbiting the dwarf planet of Pluto – its fifth – only a year after the former planet’s forth satellite was discovered. In the past decade alone, four out of Pluto’s five moons known thus far have been discovered. The latest addition, provisionally titled S/2012 (134340) 1 or P5, is only between 6 [...]
Some astronomers have long believed that an ocean might lurk beneath Pluto’s ice, heated by isotopes undergoing a radioactive decay – but we’ll have to wait until 2015 to know for sure. The New Horizons spacecraft is set to visit Pluto less than four years from now, and it will map the surface of the [...]