In July of this year (2015), NASA’s New Horizons mission will fly past Pluto and its moons. It will map the surface of the Plutonian system in unprecedented detail, revealing craters and other surface features for the first time. In preparation for the deluge of newly discovered craters, mountains, crevasses and other surface features, Mamajek et al. discuss a naming system for Pluto and its moons.
The years of 2014 and 2015 may well be known as the time when our exploration of the solar system truly took off, as we explored asteroids, comets, and minor planets. Here’s a look back at what we’ve accomplished in the last year, and what we’re about to achieve in the year to come.
New Horizons is going to reach Pluto in July, 2015. What happens after that?
New Horizons will arrive at Pluto in mid-2015. Images of ancient tectonic features on its surface may provide evidence for the existence of an ancient, subsurface ocean.
Pluto’s small satellites have very low escape velocities, which means that dust kicked up by impacts has a relatively easy time of escaping rather than settling back down to the little moon’s surface. Today’s paper looks at the fates of that dust.
The number of known moons of Pluto has now reached five. What are they like, and how did they get there? Kenyon and Bromley use numerical simulations to answer these questions and determine what else New Horizons may find in 2015.