NASA Releases Stunningly Detailed Images of Pluto's Surface
This past July, the New Horizons spacecraft whizzed by Pluto, taking photos, videos, and measurements of the faraway dwarf planet. Now, NASA has released several images detailing Pluto’s icy terrain that are astoundingly clear—and, as continues to be the case with Pluto, deeply intriguing.
With resolutions of about 250–280 feet per pixel, the shots reveal peaks, plains, and craters, highlighting geographic features that NASA says "would be smaller than half a city block” on Pluto’s surface. NASA also shared a video of the faraway planet, which pans a 50-mile swath of its rugged surface.
“These new images give us a breathtaking, super-high resolution window into Pluto’s geology,” said Alan Stern, principal investigator of New Horizons, 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.”
The photos are the first of a series that NASA will receive in the coming days—meaning if you’re a space buff, you should keep your eyes peeled for more shots to come. Until then, here are the latest pictures and video footage.
All images courtesy of NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.