Saturday, December 05, 2015

Latest and Best closeups of Pluto

Saturday, December 5, 2015 - NASA has released some of the clearest photos of Pluto ever taken. Captured by the New Horizons spacecraft on July 14, the sequence of images show a wide variety of the planet's glacial terrain along a strip spanning 80 km wide. Snapshots reveal northwest of Pluto's "heart" region, across the icy al-Idrisi mountains and through Sputnik Planum's plains.
It was the spacecraft's closest flyby, capturing photos at a distance from Earth that ranged from 7.5 billion to 4.28 billion km.

Pluto's Layered Craters and Icy Plains - NASA - New Horizons
This highest-resolution image from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reveals new details of Pluto’s rugged, icy cratered plains.

“These new images give us a breathtaking, super-high resolution window into Pluto’s geology,” said New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern in a statement. “Nothing of this quality was available for Venus or Mars until decades after their first flybys; yet at Pluto we’re there already – down among the craters, ice fields and mountains – less than five months after flyby! The science we can do with these images is simply unbelievable.”At 250 to 280 feet per pixel, the images are six times better the resolution of the global Pluto map the New Horizons team put together earlier this year.
More of these stunning high resolution photos are expected to come in over the next few days, so stay tuned.
Here are some of the best close-ups:

The Mountainous Shoreline of Sputnik Planum - NASA - New Horizons

In this highest-resolution image from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, great blocks of Pluto’s water-ice crust appear jammed together in the informally named al-Idrisi mountains.

Pluto’s 'Badlands' - NASA - New Horizons

This highest-resolution image from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft shows how erosion and faulting has sculpted this portion of Pluto’s icy crust into rugged badlands.

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