New Close-Up View of Pluto’s Surface

Best Close-Up of Pluto's Surface

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This new close-up image of Pluto’s surface is the most detailed image revealed to date by they New Horizons Spacecraft.

This is the most detailed view of Pluto’s terrain you’ll see for a very long time. This mosaic strip – extending across the hemisphere that faced the New Horizons spacecraft as it flew past Pluto on July 14, 2015 – now includes all of the highest-resolution images taken by the NASA probe. With a resolution of about 260 feet (80 meters) per pixel, the mosaic affords New Horizons scientists and the public the best opportunity to examine the fine details of the various types of terrain on Pluto, and determine the processes that formed and shaped them.

“This new image product is just magnetic,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado. “It makes me want to go back on another mission to Pluto and get high-resolution images like these across the entire surface.”

The view extends from the “limb” of Pluto at the top of the strip, almost to the “terminator” (or day/night line) in the southeast of the encounter hemisphere, seen below. The width of the strip ranges from more than 55 miles (90 kilometers) at its northern end to about 45 miles (75 kilometers) at its southern point. The perspective changes greatly along the strip: at its northern end, the view looks out horizontally across the surface, while at its southern end, the view looks straight down onto the surface.


This mosaic strip – extending across the hemisphere that faced the New Horizons spacecraft as it flew past Pluto on July 14, 2015 – now includes all of the highest-resolution images taken by the NASA probe. Note: video is silent/no audio.

This movie moves down the mosaic from top to bottom, offering new views of many of Pluto’s distinct landscapes along the way. Starting with hummocky, cratered uplands at top, the view crosses over parallel ridges of “washboard” terrain, chaotic and angular mountain ranges, cellular plains, coarsely “pitted” areas of sublimating nitrogen ice, zones of thin nitrogen ice draped over the topography below, and dark mountainous highlands scarred by deep pits.

The pictures in the mosaic were obtained by New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) approximately 9,850 miles (15,850 kilometers) from Pluto, about 23 minutes before New Horizons’ closest approach.

Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

2 Comments on "New Close-Up View of Pluto’s Surface"

  1. Randy Rogers | May 27, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Reply

    Looks like a planet to me!

  2. Madanagopal.V.C. | May 28, 2016 at 8:45 am | Reply

    Probably Nitrogen flows on the planet as HNO3 ,Nitric acid which replaces sea of water on it. Now its corrosive action on plains which makes them as nitrogen icy cellular and non cellular plains after they are frozen as ice. The principal ingredients of atmosphere are Hydrogen, Oxygen which can make water or Hydrogen, Nitrogen and Oxygen which can make sea of Nitric acids frozen now, or Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen making methane seas. With Sulphur it makes sulphuric acid and sulfur fumes as in Mercury. Nitrogen and Hydrogen alone can make ammonia clouds as in Venus and more transparent carbon di oxide can cooled as ice caps on Mars.Planet chemistry is just a kaleidoscopic presentation of these first few elements in the atmosphere and on the surface. All higher elements like Silicon, Iron etc.,will precipitate as solid surface of mountains and rough terrain. Thank You.

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