Four members of the observation team scan the sky while waiting for the start of the 2014 MU69 occultation, early on the morning of June 3, 2017. The target field was in the Milky Way, seen here from their observation site in the Karoo desert near Vosburg, South Africa. They used portable telescopes in an attempt to observe MU69, a small Kuiper Belt object (now nicknamed Ultima Thule) and the next flyby target of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, pass in front of a star. New Horizons team members will attempt similar observations of Ultima this week in Colombia and Senegal. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Henry Throop

New Horizons Team Prepares for Stellar Occultation Ahead of Ultima Thule Flyby

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What a difference 40 years makes. An enhanced color image of Charon from data gathered by the New Horizons spacecraft in 2015 shows a range of diverse surface features, significantly transforming our view of a moon discovered in 1978 as a “bump” on Pluto (inset) in a set of grainy telescope images. Credits: U.S. Naval Observatory; NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Charon at 40: Four Decades of Discovery on Pluto’s Largest Moon

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Image of dunes of methane ice on Pluto. Upper left: mountainous region adjacent to a plain. Lower right: patterns of dune. Credit: NASA

Icy Dunes on Pluto Reveal a Diverse and Dynamic Dwarf Planet

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Pluto Images_from NASA’s New Horizons Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Icy dunes on Pluto: spacecraft reveals new details about planet’s surface

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With its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), New Horizons has observed several Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) and dwarf planets at unique phase angles, as well as Centaurs at extremely high phase angles to search for forward-scattering rings or dust. These December 2017 false-color images of KBOs 2012 HZ84 (left) and 2012 HE85 are, for now, the farthest from Earth ever captured by a spacecraft. They're also the closest-ever images of Kuiper Belt objects. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

New Horizons Captures Record-Breaking Images in the Kuiper Belt

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Composite, enhanced-color image of Pluto (lower right) and its largest moon Charon (upper left) taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on July 14, 2015. Pluto and Charon are shown with approximately correct relative sizes, but their true separation is not to scale. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

An Orbital Dance May Help Preserve Oceans on Icy Worlds

An Orbital Dance May Help Preserve Oceans on Icy Worlds Heat generated by the gravitational pull of moons formed from massive collisions could extend the…

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Pluto’s bladed terrain as seen from New Horizons during its July 2015 flyby. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Daniel Rutter

Solving the Mystery of Pluto’s Giant Blades of Ice

Solving the Mystery of Pluto’s Giant Blades of Ice NASA’s New Horizons mission revolutionized our knowledge of Pluto when it flew past that distant world…

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One artist’s concept of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, the next flyby target for NASA’s New Horizons mission. This binary concept is based on telescope observations made at Patagonia, Argentina on July 17, 2017 when MU69 passed in front of a star. New Horizons theorize that it could be a single body with a large chunk taken out of it, or two bodies that are close together or even touching. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker

New Horizons’ Next Target Just Got a Lot More Interesting

New Horizons’ Next Target Just Got a Lot More Interesting Could the next flyby target for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft actually be two targets? New…

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