Technology & Science

Pluto's craters, glaciers and mountains on display in new NASA images

NASA has released the sharpest images yet of the dwarf planet Pluto, taken from its New Horizons spacecraft during its now-famous flyby on July 14.

Images taken as spacecraft made its closest approach to the dwarf planet in July

Pluto's icy cratered plains, including layering in the interior walls of many craters, are seen in this newly released high-resolution image from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft. (NASA)

NASA has released the sharpest images yet of the dwarf planet Pluto, taken from its New Horizons spacecraft during its now-famous flyby on July 14.

The new, super high-resolution images show craters, glacial terrain and mountainous parts of the previously mysterious Pluto. 

Another new image shows blocks of Pluto's water-ice crust appear jammed together in the informally named al-Idrisi mountains. (NASA)

The photos are part of a series of images of a strip 80 kilometres wide, starting at Pluto's horizon from the vantage point of the spacecraft and stretching 800 kilometres northwest of the informally named Sputnik Planum, a large icy plain.

NASA took the images with its telescopic Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), over a time span of about one minute.

Pluto's 'Sputnik Planum,' a giant icy plain, is seen in this image released in September. (NASA)

The space agency says the pictures have "resolutions of about 250-280 feet (77-85 metres) per pixel," meaning the features the images reveal are smaller than half a city block, the agency explained.

These are the latest in a series of stunning images the space agency has released since the summer flyby. Previous images have shown frozen water, massive canyons, ice peaks and even a close-up of one of Pluto's moons, Kerberos.

The findings have shown that the dwarf planet is not the dead, frozen ice ball it was thought to be — many of the recent findings have suggested that it has a geologically active interior. 

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