Perplexing photos of the landscape of Pluto captured by NASA’s New Horizons

The newest high resolution images released by NASA’s New Horizons of Pluto revealed a landscape that is both stunning and topographically confusing. The image – showing an area near the line that separates day from night – captures a vast rippling landscape of uneven, aligned linear ridges that has astonished New Horizons team members.


The spacecraft undertook an enchanting flyby of dwarf planet Pluto on July 14 and remains to be within the means of sending pictures again to Earth. Figuring this out could really take some time, and it could possibly be a combination of ice sublimation and internal tectonic forces driven by faint sunlight on Pluto. The spacecraft’s wide-angle Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC) sent back images shows the extraordinarily rich color palette of Pluto.

Additionally, a high-resolution swath across Pluto taken by New Horizons’ narrow-angle Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on July 14th, and downlinked on September 20th, homes in on details of Pluto’s geology.

The high-definition images are the latest to be released from NASA’s New Horizons mission, which has described the newest discoveries as “dazzling and mystifying”. The surface colors of the planet were enhanced this way to reveal subtle details in multiple colors. A lot of landforms have their own distinctive colors that hint on a more complex geological and climatological story than scientists had initially anticipated. According to mission scientists, the ice of the Sputnik could be particularly susceptible to sublimation and formation of the corrugated ground.

“We used MVIC’s infrared channel to extend our spectral view of Pluto”, John Spencer, a GGI deputy lead from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado, wrote.

Scientists aren’t sure if the distribution of methane across the surface is because the gas is more likely to condense there or that its condensation brightens those regions. The image reveals that the image is actually pockmarked by dense patterns of pits, low ridges and scalloped terrain.

These regions include the dunes of the region called Sputnik Planum that is on the western side of the popular heart-shaped Tombaugh Regio.



Apart from the new images, fresh compositional information is also coming in from a map of the methane ice across a part of the surface of Pluto that has just been received. “We’re unsure why this is so, but the cool thing is that New Horizons has the ability to make exquisite compositional maps across the surface of Pluto, and that’ll be crucial to resolving how enigmatic Pluto works”.

See highest resolution images of Pluto