Pluto (foreground) and its moon, Charon. Image: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Before scientists visited Pluto, they thought it might have rings. But according to a paper posted in September to the preprint server arXiv.org, a close examination of the dwarf planet revealed no rings or debris. And that's a good thing, writes Lisa Grossman for Science News, because colliding dust-and-debris-filled rings could mean the end of a spacecraft like New Horizons.

Why it matters: If Pluto doesn't have rings or debris, it's possible other Kuiper Belt objects won't have them either. On January 1 2019, New Horizons is set to visit 2014 MU69, a Kuiper Belt object approximately 20 miles long. If the flyby happens safely, New Horizons will continue on to even more distant objects.

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Facebook's latest headache: Its own employees' posts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook’s rules for what people can say on the world’s largest social network have been a long-term headache for the company, but now it faces similar troubles on the internal network its own staff uses.

Driving the news: As political arguments on Facebook’s employee discussion boards have grown more heated and divisive, the company ordered new restrictions on the forums earlier this month, which run on Facebook’s Workplace platform.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

How a conservative Supreme Court would impact climate policy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amy Coney Barrett's likely ascension to the Supreme Court would affect climate policy beyond shoving the court rightward in the abstract.

Why it matters: If Joe Biden wins the presidential election, his regulations and potential new climate laws would face litigation that could reach the high court.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 33,138,963 — Total deaths: 998,380 — Total recoveries: 22,953,639Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 7,116,455 — Total deaths: 204,762 — Total recoveries: 2,766,280 — Total tests: 101,298,794Map.
  3. States: 3 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week
  4. Health: The childless vaccine — Why kids get less severe coronavirus infections.
  5. World: India the second country after U.S. to hit 6 million cases