New Horizons

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Two interplanetary probes, Voyagers 1 and 2, were launched by NASA in 1977. Each headed in a different direction, but their mission included exploring the planets. They also contained a gold phonograph record with sounds and images, hoping to contact intelligent extraterrestrial life.

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRl/Steve Gribben

In July 2015, the world marveled as NASA’s New Horizons probe revealed the wonders of Pluto and its moons for the first time. Now, New Horizons returns for an encore: a New Year’s Day flyby of a distant world known as 2014 MU69, nicknamed “Ultima Thule.”

NASA

One year ago, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made its historic flyby of Pluto.

Pluto looks to be a far cry from the dead body that many scientists had long presumed. As the New Horizons probe continues to report back from the fringes of the solar system, a word that Mr. Spock might have used sums up the reaction: fascinating.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

On February 18th, 1930, a 24-year-old Kansas farmhand-turned-astronomer made a discovery that forever changed our understanding of the Solar System. On that evening, Clyde Tombaugh, who had grown up on family farms in Illinois and Kansas, discovered Pluto. Tombaugh’s discovery nearly doubled the size of the known solar system overnight.

This is an ongoing series on Women in Astronomy.  Today, we meet three modern women in astronomy, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Andrea Ghez, and Carolyn Porco.