Colloquium
Colloquium

Major Results from the Exploration of the Pluto System

S. Alan Stern

PI, NASA’s New Horizons Mission / Southwest Research Institute

         Pluto New Horizons made the first exploration of the Pluto system—in 2015, culminating with a highly successful flyby deep inside the orbits of all five of Pluto’s moons on July 14th, 2015. This presentation will begin by summarizing the mission and then instrument payload’s capabilities. I will then provide a survey of results obtained about Pluto’s satellite system, the planet itself, Pluto’s atmosphere and solar wind interactions, the complex distribution of surface compositions, and a variety of interesting geological features on its surface. I also show how the crater size frequency distribution on Pluto’s surface has shed new light on the small body population of the Kuiper Belt. I will close describing the science New Horizons will do in its just-approved Kuiper Belt Extended Mission through 2021.