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Arizona Names 'State Planet' That Is Not a Planet

18 years after Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet, its status is still debated

(Newser) - You surely know by now that Pluto is not a planet in the usual sense. Arizona isn't so sure. The state has recognized Pluto, one of five dwarf planets in our solar system, as its "official state planet." What does that mean? Essentially that Pluto still has...

Scientists Want to Make Pluto a Planet Again

'We think there's probably over 150 planets in our solar system,' researchers say

(Newser) - More than 15 years after the International Astronomical Union demoted Pluto from planet to "dwarf planet," some scientists are saying the distant world should be reinstated as a planet—and joined by more than 100 other objects in our solar system. In a study published in the journal...

NASA Spacecraft to Whiz By Most Distant Target Yet
New Year, New NASA

New Year, New NASA Milestone

A spacecraft is set to swing by the most distant celestial body ever

(Newser) - A NASA spacecraft is set to make a New Year's Day rendezvous with a tiny, icy world a billion miles farther than Pluto, in what would make it the most distant cosmic body ever explored by humankind. New Horizons was on course to fly past the mysterious, primitive object...

Study Makes the Case for Pluto as a Planet
Pluto Got Robbed,
Say Astronomers

Pluto Got Robbed, Say Astronomers

It deserves to be a planet, say University of Central Florida researchers

(Newser) - Pluto deserves to be a planet again, says new research out of the University of Central Florida. Scientists there think the 2006 rules used to boot Pluto from the planet club are bogus, and they recommend a different standard under which it would qualify, per a UCF release . The researchers...

Pluto Has Frozen 'Sand' Dunes
Pluto Has Frozen 'Sand' Dunes

Pluto Has Frozen 'Sand' Dunes

The pale gray and white ridges were revealed on a spacecraft flyby

(Newser) - Scientists have discovered dunes on Pluto made of tiny frozen grains of methane, reports the AP . The pale gray and white ridges were revealed by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft during its 2015 flyby. A British-led team announced the findings Thursday in the journal Science. Researchers said the dunes appear...

Subsurface Ocean May Have Rolled Pluto Over

'It’s not a liquid, flowing ocean, but maybe slushy'

(Newser) - Researchers believe they have spotted evidence of what could be the most remote body of water in our solar system: A vast ocean below the surface of Pluto. In a study published in Nature , researchers explain that the 600-mile-wide Sputnik Planitia region, a plain that is part of the heart-shaped...

No, Those Aren't Snails on Pluto

They're dirty icebergs, say NASA scientists

(Newser) - Bad news for future residents of Pluto with a fondness for escargot: The planet is not, in fact, covered with giant snails—despite images beamed back to Earth from the New Horizons probe that bear a weird resemblance to the creatures. The images, published by NASA, show oddly-shaped objects in...

Pluto Has a Blue Sky, Like Ours

Yup, it's blue, but Pluto's frozen water might be red

(Newser) - New Horizons' flyby of Pluto this summer taught us a lot about the dwarf planet, including that it's 1,597 miles across and has a mountain range the size of the Rockies . But new surprises are emerging as data continues to be beamed back from 3.1 billion miles...

5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including bone-healing marijuana and new categories for drunks

(Newser) - In addition to surprises about Pluto , stories about ancient sperm and ancient dentists make the list of the week's discoveries:
  • Oldest Animal Sperm Found : Scientists exploring an Antarctic island stumbled across history—the world's oldest animal sperm. They found it inside a fossilized cocoon made by some type

10 Things That Cost Much More Than Our Trip To Pluto

Just think of how many NASA missions this money could have bought...

(Newser) - Pluto and the New Horizons probe have been the stars of the week, and an odd sidebar from CBS Minnesota on the voyage has been going viral. Reporter Pat Kessler observed that the 9-plus-year voyage cost $720 million—which just so happens to be a good deal less than...

After Pluto, Spacecraft Has Another Big Mission

Next up: the Kuiper belt

(Newser) - The New Horizons spacecraft has wowed us back on Earth with its 3 billion-mile Pluto mission , but it's still got a lot of traveling to do. In fact, scientists expect it to keep making headlines for another two decades or so. After Pluto, the spacecraft is off to explore...

Behold, the First Closeup of Pluto

It's got mountains roughly the size of the Rockies

(Newser) - The New Horizons spacecraft began revealing its treats today, providing scientists with the first closeups of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon. The dwarf planet has a mountain range about 11,000 feet high, roughly the size of the Rockies, reports AP . Scientists were surprised to see no impact craters,...

Pluto Spacecraft Reconnects With Earthlings

New Horizons makes contact after historic mission

(Newser) - The NASA spacecraft that had astronomers cheering this morning with a successful flyby of Pluto had them cheering again tonight when it re-established connection with Earth. The New Horizons craft had gone dark for more than 12 hours as expected while it collected data from the dwarf planet and its...

We Have Finally Made It to Pluto least, according to NASA's calculations

(Newser) - This is one of the biggest days in the exploration of our solar system since Voyager 2 approached Neptune in 1989—and there may not be a day like it again. According to NASA's calculations, its New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto at 31,000mph at 7:49am EDT...

One Very Special Man's Ashes Fly by Pluto Tomorrow

It's a final wish come true for discoverer Clyde Tombaugh

(Newser) - On Feb. 18, 1930, a young astronomer poring over a series of images of the sky, taken from a telescope at Arizona's Lowell Observatory, spotted movement among some 150,000 stars, reports . Tomorrow, Clyde Tombaugh—whose last wish before his death in 1997 was for his ashes...

Scientists Spy a Doughnut, Whale on Pluto

Our closest view yet reveals familiar shapes on planet's surface

(Newser) - NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is set to pass within 7,750 miles of Pluto on Tuesday, and the probe has now sent us our closest view yet of the dwarf planet. Look closely and you might see some familiar shapes: Specifically, the image, taken from 5 million miles away,...

NASA Spacecraft on Pluto's Doorstep

New images of planet's 'faces' show 'complex surface': scientist

(Newser) - NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is all set for what predicts will be a "truly epic encounter" with Pluto next month. The first spacecraft ever sent to the dwarf planet, New Horizons is now about 20 million miles away—and 2.9 billion miles from Earth, reports...

Out Near Pluto: A 'Grateful Dead' Dance

Scientists observe 'weird' gyrations in space

(Newser) - A chaotic dance is taking place at the far end of our solar system, involving Pluto and five of its closest friends, a new study finds. Hubble Space Telescope images of Pluto, its largest moon Charon, and tinier moons Styx, Nix, Hydra, and Kerberos show the odd rhythmic gyrations of...

This Is a Spacecraft's First Color Pic of Pluto

New Horizons will have much sharper ones soon

(Newser) - Pluto and Charon, its Texas-sized moon, are still just blobs in what NASA says is the "first color image ever made of the Pluto system by a spacecraft on approach," but they're a sign of very exciting things to come. After nine years and 2.9 billion...

You Can Name Parts of Pluto
 You Can Name 
 Parts of Pluto 

You Can Name Parts of Pluto

Public invited to submit, vote on, suggestions

(Newser) - Some think Pluto may be welcomed back into the planet fold this year, and now the SETI Institute has more good news for Pluto's fans: The public will get to name its most prominent features. Everyone's invited to the "Our Pluto" website to vote on previously selected...

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