Pluto has just gotten a close up shot for the first time in almost 10 years.  Although photos have been taken of this planet (or dwarf planet if you are being technical) in the past, none are in comparison to these images.  The images provided are 1000 times the resolution quality as has been taken by the Hubble telescope in the past.

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Pluto’s north is located at the top of the image.  The dark regions depicted are the equator of the planet, which is about 2/3rds the diameter of the Earth’s moon.  The image shows that there is evidence of impacts, which is not surprising considering it’s proximity to the asteroid belt.

It also might suggest that there have been periods of freeze and thaw on the surface.

The blue blobs all indicate frozen H2O

The most obvious feature is what has been called the “Heart of Pluto”.  This area is puzzling  to scientist as it appears featureless.  Indicating to that the area might still be in flux.

Pluto - NASA

Although this image is very detailed, this is only the beginning of images to come.  Other images of the Pluto will come will include stereographics, compositional spectoraphy, plasma readings, and thermal maps.  Each of these types of images will give NASA scientists more details about the planet.


This is the most recent of NASA endeavours that has caught the attention of the general public.

[NASA via Wired]

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