9 years of journey, 3,000,000,000 miles deep into space, the New Horizons spacecraft that was launched by NASA eventually flew past the distant and mystical icy cold dwarf planet – Pluto for the first time in July 2015. This probably made the event, THE MOST important scientific achievement of 2015. A lot has happened since then. New Horizons has sent back several images of the Pluto System and the dwarf planet itself. However, THE MOST detailed and sharpest Pluto images were just released by NASA on 5th of December, 2015.
The new images reveal extraordinary details with a high resolution of 80m per pixel. What does that mean? It means that if that kind of resolution is used to photograph Earth from space, one could easily locate a small city park! These sharp images reveal extraordinary details of the dwarf planet’s terrain. These detailed images have come almost 5 months after Pluto flyby of New Horizons.
These new detailed and sharp Pluto images are a part of the photographic strip from the spacecraft. The images that have been revealed by NASA are of Sputnik Planum – an informal name used to describe an icy flat terrain of Pluto. Images of the so called al-Idrisi mountains are also present in this first batch of sharpest Pluto images.
The images that reveal incredibly detailed craters, ice fields and mountains were captured by LORRI – Long Range Reconnaissance Imager. LORRI captured images from a 50-mile-wide strip of the dwarf planet’s terrain which reveals extraordinary geological diversity. We may receive some more images but these sharp images may be the last of the best closeup images that we may see in decades or may be this lifetime.
Here are those images:
Over the next few days, more high resolution images of Pluto will be revealed. Once all images are sent, it will be over because New Horizons is already way past Pluto.
In case you are wondering what else has been revealed by New Horizons about the distant icy cold celestial body of our Solar System, allow us the opportunity to walk you through the same.