NASA releases new Pluto close-ups

"These new images give us a breathtaking, super-high resolution window into Pluto's geology," said researcher Alan Stern.
By Brooks Hays  |  Dec. 4, 2015 at 5:34 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- On Friday, NASA released the clearest close-ups of Pluto yet. The high-resolution images were captured by the New Horizons probe during this summer's flyby. The images feature a resolution of 250 to 280 feet per pixel, capturing details as small as half of a city block.

"These close-up images, showing the diversity of terrain on Pluto, demonstrate the power of our robotic planetary explorers to return intriguing data to scientists back here on planet Earth," John Grunsfeld, former astronaut and associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said in a news release.

"New Horizons thrilled us during the July flyby with the first close images of Pluto, and as the spacecraft transmits the treasure trove of images in its onboard memory back to us, we continue to be amazed by what we see."

Each week, the New Horizons probe beams back more data from its Pluto flyby. The latest series features images captured during the craft's closest approach to the dwarf planet.

"These new images give us a breathtaking, super-high resolution window into Pluto's geology," added Alan Stern, principal investigator on the New Horizons mission and a researcher at the Southwest Research Institute.

"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."

Over the next several days, New Horizons will continue to beam detailed photos captured by its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, revealing more of Pluto's surface at a similarly impressive resolution.

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