Discovery Stories

Quick takes on observations and discoveries from New Horizons' voyage to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt

June 8, 2022

Pluto's Giant Ice Volcanoes

The large ice volcanoes New Horizons discovered on Pluto are unique in the solar system, geologically young and enigmatic.

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2022

June 8, 2022

Pluto's Giant Ice Volcanoes

The large ice volcanoes New Horizons discovered on Pluto are unique in the solar system, geologically young and enigmatic.

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May 2, 2022

Space Is Brighter Than You Might Think!

New Horizons recently obtained the best-ever measurement of the light coming from the distant universe - and the level is double that accounted for by all galaxies.

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April 5, 2022

New Horizons Discovers 'Tight Twins' in the Kuiper Belt

New Horizons found two pairs of Kuiper Belt object binaries - small bodies that orbit each other so closely that these "tight twins" cannot be seen as separate objects from any observatory on Earth or

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March 28, 2022

The Remarkably Low Density of Kuiper Belt Object Arrokoth

Arrokoth may be a highly porous object with a bulk density similar to that of settled snow.

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February 2, 2022

Ultraviolet Signals from the Milky Way

New Horizons is now far enough from the Sun to measure the dim Lyman alpha light from the Milky Way galaxy.

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2021

December 2, 2021

The Dark Side of Pluto

Shortly after flying past Pluto on July 14, 2015, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft imaged Pluto's night side to view terrain faintly lit by reflected sunlight from Pluto's large moon, Charon.

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July 12, 2021

Pluto's Nitrogen Ice over Time

New Horizons scientists have modeled how nitrogen ice is distributed across Pluto's surface - and how that will change.

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May 3, 2021

Arrokoth's Lobes Have a Similar Origin Story

The albedo of Arrokoth's two lobes provides an important clue to the object's origin, indicating that the parts formed at the same time or evolved together.

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April 5, 2021

Compositional Variations Across Sputnik Planitia

New Horizons obtained infrared spectra of Sputnik Planita -- the left half of Pluto's "heart" -- providing insight into the processes that have shaped the Texas-sized impact basin.

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2020

October 29, 2020

One Organic Compound Creates Pluto's Many Surface Colors

New models show that the range of colors on Pluto's surface can be reproduced by altering the abundance and particle size of a single coloring agent called tholin.

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August 24, 2020

Cryovolcanic Flooding in Pluto's Viking Terra

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June 25, 2020

Arrokoth's Features Support a Low Speed Binary Merger Origin

New Horizons' cameras revealed the Kuiper Belt object Arrokoth's remarkable shape, with unequal-sized lobes joined by a narrow neck.

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June 25, 2020

Color and Surface Composition of Arrokoth

On New Year's Day 2019, the New Horizons spacecraft flew close by the Kuiper Belt object (KBO) Arrokoth, revealing its color and surface composition.

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June 25, 2020

Arrokoth: A Key Clue to Planet Formation

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June 9, 2020

Record-Smashing Parallax and First Interstellar Navigation

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2019

July 11, 2019

Prebiotic Chemistry of Pluto

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February 11, 2019

Where Have the Small Kuiper Belt Objects Gone

Analysis of the crater size frequency distributions on Pluto’s moon Charon has produced a surprising result.

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2018

December 18, 2018

Global Maps of Pluto's Surface and Topography

During its flyby of Pluto in July 2015, cameras on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft captured thousands of images, which have been painstakingly analyzed to create a color coded topographical map.

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December 18, 2018

Global Maps of Charon's Surface and Topography

During its flyby of Pluto in July 2015, cameras on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft captured thousands of images, which have been painstakingly analyzed to create a color coded topographical map.

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December 14, 2018

Pluto's Washboard and Fluted Terrains

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December 14, 2018

Pluto's Amazing Color Diversity

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September 11, 2018

The New Horizons Extended Mission and Predictions for the Encounter with Arrokoth

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February 1, 2018

Pluto's Massive Ice Blades

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2017

September 20, 2017

Portable Telescopes Reveal the Silhouette of Next New Horizons Flyby Target

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