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Everything We're Learning About Pluto and Its Moons RIGHT NOW

Illustration for article titled Everything Were Learning About Pluto and Its Moons RIGHT NOW

It’s been a crazy week learning about Pluto as the New Horizons spacecraft makes the first-ever close encounter with the dwarf planet. Join us as we live-blog the very first science results as the mission team reports back after closest approach.


On Monday, we confirmed that Pluto really is the biggest dwarf planet and the uncontested King of the Kuiper Belt, that it has a northern ice cap of methane and nitrogen, and that for reasons we don’t yet understand, nitrogen from its atmosphere is escaping deep into space. Read more about these results here.

On Tuesday, we got our first look at the surface composition, and started to delve into what’s going on with that dark cap on Charon’s northern pole. Read more about those results here.


Now we’re getting back the very first science results after New Horizon’s closest aproach on its flyby past Pluto, Charon, and all the little moons. Join Gizmodo’s Maddie Stone and io9’s Mika McKinnon as they report live on the New Horizons press briefing about everything we’re learning about the incredible, distant reaches of our solar system:

The live blog is now complete. You an learn more about our first detailed look at the small moon Hydra here, a glimpse into the crazy activity of Charon here, and we’ll get back to you about PLUTO BEING AN ACTIVE WORLD, WHAT IS GOING ON?! a bit later once we get over our general state of shock and bafflement. Update: Pluto, I love you and I really, really, really don’t understand.

Top image: New Horizons Principle Investigator Alan Stern has the “Fuck yeah!” victory strut down perfectly. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls


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What I’d really like to know and I can’t find anywhere-why didn’t they attempt an orbit? The speed? It seems like a waste of an opportunity to just fly past.