The future of NASA's New Horizons Pluto probe is uncertain following debates at NASA over how best to use the spacecraft.
Pluto, once considered the ninth and most distant planet from the sun, is now the largest known dwarf planet in the solar system. It is also one of the largest known members of the Kuiper Belt, a shadowy zone beyond the orbit of Neptune thought to be populated by hundreds of thousands of rocky, icy bodies each larger than 62 miles (100 kilometers) across, along with 1 trillion or more comets.
NASA's New Horizons probe flew by Pluto nearly eight years ago, but the epic encounter is still bearing scientific fruit.
The icy volcanism of Pluto's moon Charon may be driven by an internal frozen ocean erupted through a thin shell.
Reference Pluto, officially a dwarf planet, has surprising complexity on its surface. While certainly a world, not everyone agrees it is a planet.
For planetary scientist Alan Stern, witnessing the 20th century deep sea sarcophagus that is the Titanic serves up analogies to spaceflight.
Reference Pluto was once considered the ninth planet in the solar system, it was demoted in 2006 to dwarf planet status. We explore this icy body in more detail here.
Here's how to observe these solar system worlds overnight Wednesday (July 20) and Thursday (July 21).
New Horizons is still on duty in extended mission mode, diving ever deeper into the Kuiper Belt to examine ancient, icy mini-worlds in that vast region beyond the orbit of Neptune.
The red cap on Pluto's moon Charon results when ultraviolet light and the solar wind interact with hydrocarbons and turn them into a soup of organic compounds dubbed tholins.
"Comet," "star" and "planet" are category names that immediately tell you something important about what they describe.
What is it like to be on the surface of Mars or Venus? Or even further afield, such as on Pluto, or Saturn's moon Titan?
Pluto is lucky to exist in the orbit that it does, according to new computer simulations that show how the dwarf planet skirts near a chaotic orbit that could potentially destroy the beloved world.
In 2006, and after much debate, the International Astronomical Union came up with a new definition for a planet. And for the first time, the term "dwarf planet" was used.
An area of Pluto that researchers think was formed from the eruption of ice volcanoes is unique on the dwarf planet and in the solar system, a new study suggests.
Reference A look into the March night sky for some sky objects with unusual solar system planets, stars and constellations.
New Horizons was the first spacecraft to visit dwarf planet Pluto and Kuiper Belt object Arrokoth. The spacecraft is still actively exploring the solar system.
NASA has released new visualisations of the dwarf planet Pluto and its largest moon Charon to commemorate the first-ever up close exploration of the distant worlds.
For a brief moment in time in July 2018, the solar system aligned to show Earth the fully sunlit disk of Pluto, an arrangement that won't occur again for 161 years.