The highest resolution Pluto close-ups yet are here as New Horizons is beaming back new data packages collected during the historic Pluto fly-by.
As NASA’s New Horizon is now moving further away from the dwarf planet and into the new part of its mission, it is still sending back data collected on Pluto. Captured in July during the historic Pluto fly-by, the newly released images are the highest resolution Pluto close-ups yet. The mosaic of surface features is now exposed in all its beauty.
Pluto’s glaciers, craters and mountain ranges, as well as the plateaus and icy patches are on exhibit for everyone to see. According to the New Horizons team, the snapshots are taken at a 250 to 280 feet per pixel resolution. The intriguing new batch of photos reveal an intimate map of the dwarf planet’s features, with the resolution being six time better this time than that of the Pluto map released earlier this year.
John Grunsfeld, the associate administrator with NASA’ Science Mission Directorate declared that the Pluto close-ups captured by New Horizons not only show how diverse the surface of Pluto is in intricate details, but they also highlight the advanced capabilities of planetary explorers to capture and send such exciting new data.
There is an entire mosaic of Pluto close-ups available on the official website. Some of the captured the Sputnik Planum in close-up high resolution, while others put a larger number of features into perspective.
Take for instance the Pluto close-up above which captures at the same time a strip of land across the mountains bearing the al-Idrisi name, and the Sputnik shoreline and the icy plains. All images were captured in just minute during the historic Pluto fly-by on July 14th.
The Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) took the photos from 10,000 miles and approximately 15 minutes before New Horizons flew by the dwarf planet. The Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera was scanning the surface, using short exposures. If you think this might be the last from New Horizons, think again.
According to the New Horizons team, this is just the first series of highest resolution Pluto close-ups to be released. Many more are on the way, perhaps some 3D versions as well. It might some take some time though as New Horizons is moving farther and beaming data back to the Earth-bound team is taking increasingly longer.
Photo Credits: UniverseToday