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23 September 2019

Ice islands on Mars and Pluto could reveal past climate change

Many of the craters of Mars and Pluto feature relatively small ice islands unattached to their polar ice caps. These ice islands could be records of past climate change on Mars and Pluto, and could also provide clues about the workings of Martian water and ice, according to a new study in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.


26 February 2019

New map reveals geology and history of Pluto’s moon Charon

What a difference a planetary flyby makes. Pluto’s moon Charon — once no more than a fuzzy blob of pixels beside a larger blob — now has its first geological map, published in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.


22 June 2016

Research bolsters case for a present-day subsurface ocean on Pluto

An updated thermal model for Pluto suggests that liquid water beneath the dwarf planet’s ice shell may not be frozen yet.


18 March 2016

New findings from the New Horizons mission show Pluto is ‘really crazy’

Whether or not you believe Pluto should be called a planet, you should still be awed by the initial findings from the data the spacecraft New Horizons collected during its flyby of the dwarf planet last July. The seven science instruments aboard New Horizons gathered nearly 50 gigabits of data on the spacecraft’s digital recorders. Much of this data is still streaming back to Earth, but preliminary data and observations were published this week in the journal Science.


19 July 2015

XKCD’s Take on Pluto

In case you missed it, the XKCD cartoon has a nice take on Pluto. This reminds me of the classic cartoon on the electromagnetic spectrum.   Oh and while we are on the subject of cartoons- Opus is back! There is something about geeks and Bloom County that I can’t put my finger on, but nearly all my fellow geeks did a snoopy dance when they saw that Berke Breathed …


16 July 2015

Neil deGrasse Tyson & Stephen Colbert Talk About Pluto

What happens when two of the best science communicators eat a Klondike Bar and talk about Pluto. Watch and see. Oh, and yes I called Colbert a great science communicator, and here is why.


15 July 2015

NASA Releases New, and AMAZING Images of Pluto

You can sell your Planetary geology text book as a collector’s item now. It’s being rewritten! The New Horizons probe sent back stunning pictures of 3500 meter high mountains on Pluto today. Young mountains. NASA has a video that shows where on Pluto this image is from. More from NASA: Icy mountains on Pluto and a new, crisp view of its largest moon, Charon, are among the several discoveries announced …


13 July 2015

This is Why You Have Not Seen A Bunch of Images of Pluto This Weekend

July 14, 2015 is going to be an important date in the history book of space exploration. At about 7:50 AM Tuesday, New York time,  the New Horizons probe will pass about 12,500 km from Pluto, and the most sophisticated set of instruments ever put in deep space will record high resolution images of the dwarf planet. Images of Pluto will be recorded in visible and infrared light, while other …


9 July 2015

Best Image Ever of Pluto and Charon

New Horizons will get closer every day from now until July 14.


5 July 2015

New Horizon Probe Has Anomaly- Switches to back-up Computer

  Here is an Update from NASA late on Saturday night…. New Horizons Team Responds to Spacecraft Anomaly The New Horizons spacecraft experienced an anomaly the afternoon of July 4 that led to a loss of communication with Earth. Communication has since been reestablished and the spacecraft is healthy. The mission operations center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, lost contact with the unmanned spacecraft — …


7 May 2015

You Really Cannot Imagine How Far Away Pluto Is, But This May Help.

  I aired a story tonight I have wanted to share for over 20 years. It has to do with the New Horizons mission which will fly by Pluto in July and allow us to see what it looks like for the FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, but I want to give you an idea of how very, very far away Pluto is. You will likely see some news reports in …


25 March 2015

New Horizons is Approaching Pluto. Here’s How Very, Very, Far Away Pluto Is

Most folks are surprised to know that we have no idea what the surface of Pluto looks like. Even using the Hubble Telescope, we only see a bright star like image, but that is about to change this summer when the New Horizon’s spacecraft flies by it. We are sure to see some strange features on both Pluto and its moons. Would you like to help name them? I’ll tell …


22 December 2014

Eleven Years of Hard Work for A Few Frantic Days of Science

I’m eating lunch and talking with my friend Bud Ward (Yale Climate Connections) at the AGU meeting in San francisco Wednesday, when I see a gentleman with a sticker on his lap-top that says “MY OTHER VEHICLE IS ON THE WAY TO PLUTO”. Now, I had to find out more, so here is a short clip using my iPhone talking with Michael Buckley of the New Horizons mission to Pluto. …


11 May 2012

Our Super Moon

You may have heard all the excitement last weekend about the so-called “supermoon”. The gist of it is that the moon’s orbit is not perfectly circular, so its distance from the earth varies slightly. But all the talk of the “SuperMoon” got me thinking and I realized that we were missing a teachable moment. No, the moon being at perihelion is not a big deal, but our Moon is pretty “super”. Let me show you why: