A day after its successful flyby, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent back the first close-up photographs of Pluto, revealing a young surface dotted with ice mountains. The piano-size spacecraft traveled nine years and three billion miles to study the dwarf planet and its five moons.
Mountains on Pluto One of the first images returned to Earth after New Horizons’ Pluto flyby shows a small portion of Pluto’s surface seen from 47,800 miles away. Ice mountains up to 11,000 feet high — comparable to the height of the Rockies — cast shadows across a relatively smooth plain. The lack of craters indicates that the surface is quite young, no more than 100 million years old. This photo was taken early on Tuesday morning and shows an area just under the bright heart shape on Pluto’s surface.
Canyons on Charon A new image of Charon, Pluto’s largest moon. The moon has a dark patch, informally called Mordor, at its north pole. The image was taken late Monday from a distance of 289,000 miles.