SCIENCE

New NASA Photos Show Pluto's Surface In Eye-Popping Detail

These are the sharpest images yet of the dwarf planet.

Craters and mountains and glaciers. Oh my!

New images taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft offer the clearest, closest view yet of Pluto's stunning surface.

The photos were taken as the spacecraft made its closest approach to the dwarf planet in July, and were stored on New Horizons' digital recorders before being transmitted to the space agency here on Earth. NASA released the photos on Friday, and is preparing to receive another set of high-res images from the spacecraft in the next several days.

Just scroll down to see Pluto's surface like you've never seen it before.

"These new images give us a breathtaking, super-high resolution window into Pluto’s geology," Alan Stern, principal investigator for the New Horizons mission, said in a statement. "Nothing of this quality was available for Venus or Mars until decades after their first flybys; yet at Pluto we’re there already -- down among the craters, mountains and ice fields -- less than five months after flyby! The science we can do with these images is simply unbelievable."

The images show Pluto's cratered, mountainous and glacial terrains. They were captured by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager aboard New Horizons from a distance of around 10,000 miles. 

This highest-resolution image from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft shows great blocks of Pluto's water-ice surface that appear
This highest-resolution image from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft shows great blocks of Pluto's water-ice surface that appear jammed together in the informally named al-Idrisi Mountains.
This image reveals new details of Pluto's rugged and icy cratered plains, including layering in the interior walls of craters
This image reveals new details of Pluto's rugged and icy cratered plains, including layering in the interior walls of craters.
This image shows how erosion and faulting have sculpted this portion of Pluto's icy crust into rugged badlands.
This image shows how erosion and faulting have sculpted this portion of Pluto's icy crust into rugged badlands.
This mosaic of the highest-resolution images shows a 50-mile-wide strip of Pluto's terrain stretching across the al-Idri
This mosaic of the highest-resolution images shows a 50-mile-wide strip of Pluto's terrain stretching across the al-Idrisi mountains.

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