Latest New Horizons Images Show the Different Faces of Pluto

Thursday, 28 May 2015 - 2:46PM
Space
Thursday, 28 May 2015 - 2:46PM
Latest New Horizons Images Show the Different Faces of Pluto
New Horizons is drawing closer and closer to the mysterious Pluto, sending us Earthlings more and more detailed photos along the way. The most recent photos were taken from just under 50 million miles away, and reveal finer details of the surface on the different faces of the former ninth planet.

"As New Horizons closes in on Pluto, it's transforming from a point of light to a planetary object of intense interest," said NASA's Director of Planetary Science Jim Green in a statement. "We're in for an exciting ride for the next seven weeks."

Latest New Horizons Images Show Us the Different Faces of Pluto

"These new images show us that Pluto's differing faces are each distinct; likely hinting at what may be very complex surface geology or variations in surface composition from place to place," said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern. "These images also continue to support the hypothesis that Pluto has a polar cap whose extent varies with longitude; we'll be able to make a definitive determination of the polar bright region's iciness when we get compositional spectroscopy of that region in July."

Latest New Horizons Images Show Us the Different Faces of Pluto

New Horizons will continue to make its closest ever approach to Pluto until its July 14th rendezvous with the dwarf planet. It will travel approximately 750,000 miles per day, and as a result, the images will become more and more detailed and in focus. By the time New Horizons reaches its destination in mid-July, the resolution of the images is expected to be 5,000 times the resolution in these most recent pictures.

Latest New Horizons Images Show Us the Different Faces of Pluto

During the July 14th flyby, which will be relatively brief, New Horizons's suite of seven instruments will also make various scientific observations during its visit, such as the surface composition, the temperature, the atmosphere, and the smaller orbiting satellites.

Latest New Horizons Images Show Us the Different Faces of Pluto
Science
NASA
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