NASA just released the clearest black and white images of Pluto’s surface that could define what humans will think of the dwarf planet for decades.
The New Horizons Spacecraft beamed back to Earth tons of close up images of Pluto showing its craters, mountains, icy surface and a 50-mile-wide glacial terrain.
The spacecraft made it closest and complete flyby in July 14 with a distance ranging from 4.67 billion miles to 2.66 billion miles from Earth. The images are among the most recently sent batch back to the planet as part of the New Horizons mission with the goal of studying the dwarf planet.
According to John Grunsfeld, former astronaut and now associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, “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.”
The spacecraft took the images that stretch across Pluto’s horizon which is about 500 miles northwest of Sputnik Planum. This is located at the al-Idrisi mountains which is across the icy plains and over the shoreline of Sputnik, as described by NASA.
NASA said that it would take a whole year for the spacecraft to beam back all images that it captured during its flyby last July.
In a recent Twitter post by @NASANewHorizons, it said that, “#TGIF. Enjoy the best pics humans may see for decades of #Pluto, courtesy our #PlutoFlyby* http://go.nasa.gov/1QkXDlU pic.twitter.com/hJYI5q4hnE.”
The agency is expecting more images to arrive by next week highlighting more terrains at the planet with the best and highest resolution ever possible.
The New Horizons Mission has been extended to the Kuiper Belt with its superb success in its flyby on Pluto. The spacecraft is now billions of miles away from the dwarf planet and is expected to arrive to its destination by 2017.