A New Image of Pluto Surfaces From New Horizons

Science / Tech

Yesterday a new image of Pluto arrived from the New Horizons space probe, which shows a picture of what looks to be a whale and a heart. This is the first picture the probe has sent back to us in a few days since there was a glitch back on Saturday July 4th that put New Horizons into safe mode. The image was taken on Tuesday, but was received early Wednesday morning. The picture took about 4.5 hours to be received on our end here on Earth. That’s 3 billion miles for that photo to travel, so taking 4.5 hours is understandable.

NASA states the “heart” is close to 1,200 miles wide and the “whale” is about an 1,860 mile wide dark spot around Pluto’s equator. NASA also spotted a 200 mile wide ring just above the “whale’s” tail and said it resembles impact craters and volcanoes seen on other solar system bodies. It was also said that mission scientists are going to wait for more pictures before claiming it as a crater or volcano.


“Heart” shape is in the middle. “Whale” is the dark spot on the left. The ring is directly above the “whale” tail.

New Horizons will be getting more and better pictures on July 14th as it gets even closer (within 7,800 miles) to the surface of the dwarf planet. Jeff Moore, the leader of New Horizons’ geology, geophysics and imaging team said “The next time we see this part of Pluto at closest approach, a portion of this region will be imaged at about 500 times better resolution than we see today.”

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for closer images of Pluto. But in the meantime, what are your thoughts about the newest picture from the New Horizons probe? Think it’ll tell us even more about the dwarf planet? Leave a comment below, or on Google +, Facebook, or Twitter.

  Source: NBC News
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