Peering into Pluto's Past

EAPS News
Monday, March 21, 2016

EAPS Prof. Richard Binzel and other New Horizons scientists publish the first comprehensive set of papers describing results from last summer's Pluto system flyby, share latest results at LPSC 2016.

A year ago, Pluto was just a bright speck in the cameras of NASA's approaching New Horizons spacecraft, not much different than its appearances in telescopes since Clyde Tombaugh discovered the ninth planet in 1930. But in the March 18th issue of the journal Science New Horizons scientists published the first comprehensive set of papers describing results from last summer's Pluto system flyby.

These papers completely transform our view of Pluto – revealing the former 'astronomer's planet' to be a real world with diverse and active geology, exotic surface chemistry, a complex atmosphere, puzzling interaction with the sun and an intriguing system of small moons," said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, Colorado

This week, at the 47th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference being held at The Woodlands, Texas, New Horizons co-investigator EAPS' Richard Binzel joined members of the mission team Jim Green, NASA Planetary Science Division director; Cathy Olkin, deputy project scientist from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI); Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, from SwRI; and others to discuss the latest Pluto science results in a media briefing.

Press Briefing - New Horizons: Peering into Pluto’s Past

To access the slides for the March 21 LPSC news briefing click here

Stern will also deliver a lecture The Exploration of Pluto, on Tuesday, March 22, at 7:30 p.m. CDT/8:30 p.m. EDT.  The lecture is free and open to the public, and will be archived online. For the full schedule of live and archived LPSC events, see http://livestream.com/viewnow/LPSC2016. For more information on LPSC 2016, visit http://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2016/.

 

Story Image: This enhanced color image of Pluto highlights the many subtle color differences between Pluto's distinct regions. The image data were collected by the spacecraft’s Ralph/MVIC color camera on July 14 from a range of 22,000 miles (35,000 kilometers). Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Links

Richard Binzel

Alissa Earle

Publications

G. Randall Gladstone et al.(2016), The atmosphere of Pluto as observed by New Horizons, Science 18 March 2016, Vol 351, Issue 6279, doi: 10.1126/science.aad8866

H. A. Weaver et al. (2016), The small satellites of Pluto as observed by New Horizons, Science 18 Mar 2016, Vol. 351, Issue 6279, doi: 10.1126/science.aae0030

F. Bagenal et al. (2016), Pluto’s interaction with its space environment: Solar wind, energetic particles, and dust, Science 18 Mar 2016, Vol. 351, Issue 6279, doi: 10.1126/science.aad9045

W.M. Grundy et al. (2016), Surface compositions across Pluto and Charon, Science 18 Mar 2016, Vol. 351, Issue 6279, doi: 10.1126/science.aad9189

Jeffrey M. Moore et al. (2016), The geology of Pluto and Charon through the eyes of New Horizons, Science 18 Mar 2016, Vol. 351, Issue 6279, pp. 1284-1293, doi: 10.1126/science.aad7055

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