1st Jul. 2015 ::
New Horizons has just completed, its (nearly-decade-long) journey to fly by Pluto, and reveal humanity's first close-up look at the distant dwarf planet.
Pluto has been revealed to be an incredible place, full of amazing - and very unexpected geology! By counting craters across Pluto, scientists have been able to determine that some regions of the dwarf planet are as young as 10 million years old while others are nearly as old as the 4.5-billion-year-old solar system itself. Indicating some geological activity on (or near) the surface for a very long time after it's formation.
Data from New Horizons suggests that at least two (and maybe even all four) of Pluto's moons were born from mergers of even smaller moons.
This image, of Pluto's mountainous region is just breathtaking. Taken on July 14, 2015, when New Horizons was just 18,000 km from Pluto. The near-sunset scene, which is 230 miles (380 km) across, shows ice mountains up to 3,500 meters, and flat plains. Wow - Just WOW!
Looking back as New Horizons departed the Pluto system, it caught this amazing silhouette - clearly highlighting Pluto's thin, blue atmosphere.
New Horizons Image Gallery