Never Before Seen Pictures Of Pluto’s Surface Have Been Released By NASA
NASA New Horizons passed Pluto in July in its historic flyby to give us a better understanding of Pluto and now NASA has released a new gallery of Pluto images taken by New Horizons. The pictures are not in color but you can clearly see the detail of the complex surface features of the chaos region, the Cthulhu Regio and the Sputnik Planum.
“Pluto is showing us a diversity of landforms and complexity of processes that rival anything we’ve seen in the Solar System,” New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern told the press. “If an artist had painted this Pluto before our flyby, I probably would have called it over the top – but that’s what is actually there.”
The photos are just spectacular and show the surface of Pluto in great detail
New Horizons has been sending over a bunch of new high-resolution images from its flyby, the images have been coming in since last week and it will probably take a full year till we get all the images due to slow download speeds of the spacecraft. NASA has said that the images being delivered over the last week have better resolution and have more than doubled the amount of Pluto’s surface seen, with resolutions as good as 400 metres per pixel.
The high-resolution photos show what seem to be sloping dunes, valleys, nitrogen ice flows and mountains scattered across the surface of Pluto. Jeff Moore, leader of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging (GGI) team said:
“The surface of Pluto is every bit as complex as that of Mars. The randomly jumbled mountains might be huge blocks of hard water ice floating within a vast, denser, softer deposit of frozen nitrogen within the region informally named Sputnik Planum.”
The images show the icy plains of the Sputnik Planum and the dark Cthulhu Regio, these regions are taken up close to about 1,800 kms and also from far away about 80,000 kms. Both images show the varied landscape of the distant planet. In the centre there is a rugged, broken terrain known as the chaos region of Pluto. The images also show Charon, the largest moon of Pluto, taken from a distance of 470,000 kms. Charon is only 1200 kms in diameter but it is surprisingly complex as far as its geological history is concerned according to NASA. (See image captions for representation P.S. open full-sized image)
Let us know what you think about these new pictures and we’ll keep you informed if any new ones come along.