NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft snapped the first high-resolution photographs of Pluto and its moons this week. The images reveal the planetary system in unprecedented detail — highlighting mountain ranges, icy plains, deep canyons, and more. Planetary scientists are now using the images to figure out what they can learn about Pluto’s origins — based on the rock’s surface features.
The best part is there’s more to come. New Horizons has only sent back 1 to 2 percent of the data it has collected. The space probe has many more images of Pluto’s system to show us, and we’ll get those pictures over the next couple of weeks. Until then, check out the best images we got this week, when we celebrated the first ever flyby of dwarf planet Pluto.
- Pluto and Charon A picture of Pluto and its largest moon, taken during New Horizons' final approach.
- Pluto New Horizons snapped this image from 476,000 miles away from Pluto's surface.
- Pluto and Charon False color images of the dwarf planet and its moon.
- Hydra The first up-close image of Pluto's moon Hydra.
- Charon The best single-frame image of Pluto's largest moon.
- Pluto's mountains The first high-resolution image of Pluto's surface, revealing icy mountains.
- Charon up close The first close-up image of Charon's surface, revealing a strange depressed mountain.
- Nix The first up-close image of Pluto's moon Nix.
- Pluto's icy plains Close-up view of Pluto's "heart" region, which contains icy plains.
- Pluto and Charon A composite image of Pluto and its moon Charon.
Verge Video: The biggest discoveries from Pluto's flyby