The images show there is a range of mountains rising as high as 11,000ft (3,353m) above the surface of the icy planet.
Pluto has been shown to have a surprising Mars-like reddish hue, with an enigmatic heart-shaped feature on its surface that has already become its calling card on the internet.
NASA’s New Horizons space probe has revealed far-flung Pluto in unprecedented detail, after sending back the first detailed pictures of its surface.
The long-awaited images were unveiled Wednesday in Maryland, home to mission operations for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft.
Taken late on July 13, Earth time, the L R R I snapped gorgeous images of Pluto’s largest moon, Charon.
NASA tapped the Tempe-based company to navigate the New Horizons space probe to Pluto. Examples of the extensive national coverage include. The images provide clear images of the surface of Pluto, and a view at the “heart” of the planet.
New Zealand Herald: awesome pics the closest you’ll get to Pluto: “Another historic leap for humankind”. This suggests the close-up region, which covers about one percent of Pluto’s surface, may still be geologically active today.
That was a surprise, because observations of Pluto from Earth have not found any signs of water ice.
Unlike the icy moons of giant planets, Pluto can not be heated by gravitational interactions with a much larger planetary body.
“I know today we’ve inspired a whole new generation of explorers with this great success, and we look forward to the discoveries yet to come”, Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, said.
“Charon blew our socks off”, said deputy mission manager Cathy Olkin.
“It is going to send a lot of geophysicists back to the drawing board”, said Alan Stern, the New Horizons project’s principal investigator, from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo.
This Tuesday, July 14, 2015 image provided by NASA on Wednesday shows one of Pluto’s five moons, Hydra, about 27 miles (43 kilometers) by 20 miles (33 kilometers) wide, made by the New Horizons spacecraft.
The New Horizons spacecraft is expected to soon deliver more images of the Pluto system, so keep an eye on this page for updates.
New Horizons, which was designed, built and operated by Johns Hopkins University, uses seven instruments, including an infrared imager; an ultraviolet spectrometer that analyzes Pluto’s atmosphere; and a telescopic camera.