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Posts Tagged "kuiper belt"

Life, Unbounded

New Horizons Mission Catches Pluto And Charon Waltzing

Pluto and Charon in their orbits, taken July 2014 (Credit: NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI)

After a ten year journey, NASA’s New Horizons mission is still 420 million kilometers from the Pluto system – but that’s close enough to begin to see the orbital dance of an icy world and its major moon. This far out from the Sun it’s easier for planetary objects to hold onto satellites, so even [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Help Name Two Of Pluto’s Moons

Pluto's currently known moons (Credit: NASA/HST)

Far from the Sun planetary bodies can hold onto many more moons. The latest count for Pluto is five satellites, and the most recent two need names. Back in 2011 and 2012 it was announced that Hubble Space Telescope observations of the Pluto system had spied first one and then another new candidate moon. For [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Astrobiology Roundup

The Ghost of Astrobiology Past

The range of topics relevant to astrobiology is pretty staggering – from microbial populations, chemistry, geo-chemistry, geobiology, climate, non-linear systems, solar system exploration, robotics, planetary science, exoplanets, astrophysics, and even cosmology. I often call astrobiology an ‘inter-discipline‘, since so much of it is about the connecting threads, the metaphorical synapses between highly specialized areas of [...]

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Observations

Countdown to the Kuiper Belt [Videos]

For the first time two spacecraft will soon make up-close studies of objects from the solar system’s Kuiper Belt, a mysterious region beyond Neptune’s orbit. There, billions of icy asteroids represent pristine examples of the raw building blocks of the solar system’s planets. NASA’s New Horizons mission will visit the Kuiper Belt’s largest member, the [...]

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