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New findings based on a year's worth of observations from NASA's Van Allen Probes have revealed that the ring current - an electrical current carried by energetic ions that encircles our planet - behaves in a much different way than previously understood. The ring current has long been thought to wax and wane over time, but the new observations show that this is true of only some of the particles, while other particles are present consistently. Comment?
NASA's MESSENGER mission has unveiled the first global digital elevation model of Mercury, revealing in stunning detail the topography across the entire innermost planet and paving the way for scientists to fully characterize Mercury's geologic history. The global topographic model is among three new products from the Planetary Data System , a NASA-funded organization that archives and distributes all of NASA's planetary mission data to the public. Comment?
Scientists on NASA's New Horizons mission team are learning more about the structure and behavior of Pluto's complex atmosphere by discovering new attributes of its extensive haze layers. The hazes were first discovered by New Horizons in July, as the spacecraft swept past Pluto and made its historic first exploration of the mysterious world. Comment?
Styx - also the faintest of Pluto's five moons - was discovered using the Hubble Space Telescope in 2012, when New Horizons was more than two-thirds into its voyage to Pluto. The Styx images downlinked on October 5th, 2015, were taken by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager on July 13th, approximately 12.5 hours before New Horizons' closest approach to Pluto. Comment?
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