Latest Issue of Science News


News

Pluto or bust?

A new National Research Council report may revive plans to send a spacecraft to explore Pluto and its neighborhood. Even though NASA eliminated funding for it in its 2003 budget, the report recommends that the agency give top priority to a major Pluto mission. The Washington, D.C.–based council issued the NASA-sponsored study on July 11.

Pluto is the only planet in the solar system that a spacecraft hasn't directly observed. Astronomers continue to debate whether Pluto actually is the solar system's smallest planet or the largest member of the Kuiper belt, a reservoir of primitive, icy objects beyond the orbit of Neptune (SN: 6/9/01, p. 360: Nine Planets, or Eight?).

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.