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Destination Pluto: NASA's New Horizons Mission in Pictures

Pluto's North Pole Canyons Annotated

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Pluto's north pole canyons annotated.

Pluto Four Moons Closeup

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

These close views of Pluto's four smaller moons were captured by NASA's New Horizons probe during its historic July 2015 flyby. Data from New Horizons suggests that at least two (and maybe even all four) were born from mergers of even smaller moons.

Pluto Crater Counts

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

By counting craters across Pluto, scientists determined 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.

Back-lit, Blue-skied Pluto

NASA/New Horizons Team

Back-lit, blue-skied Pluto is still a planet in the heart, though not in official registers.

Snakeskin Ridges on Pluto

NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

Snakeskin ridges on Pluto may have been shaped by surface winds, one way Pluto's atmosphere could have contributed to the dwarf planet's unusual features.

Sunset View of Pluto

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft looked back toward the sun 15 minutes after its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015, capturing this near-sunset view of the dwarf planet’s icy mountains and flat ice plains. The image was taken from a distance of 11,000 miles (18,000 kilometers) from Pluto; the scene is 780 miles (1,250 km) wide.

New Horizons' Zoomed-in Sunset View of Pluto

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

A zoomed-in view of a photo NASA’s New Horizons probe took on July 14, 2015, when it was just 11,000 miles (18,000 kilometers) from Pluto. The near-sunset scene, which is 230 miles (380 km) across, shows rugged ice mountains up to 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) high and wide, flat plains.

Fog on Pluto

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

The setting sun illuminates fog or near-surface haze on Pluto in this small section of an image taken by NASA’s New Horizons probe on July 14, 2015, when it was 11,000 miles (18,000 kilometers) from the dwarf planet. The image covers a stretch of land 115 miles (185 km) wide.

Vast Ice Plains in Pluto's Heart

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

This image, a composite of several photos taken by NASA’s New Horizons probe, shows a vast Pluto ice plain called Sputnik Planum. The box shows the location of other detailed glacier images.

Flowing Ice on Pluto's Plains

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

This New Horizons image shows how ice (probably frozen nitrogen) is flowing from Pluto’s mountains through valleys (outlined by red arrows) onto the plains known as Sputnik Planum; the “flow front” there is outlined by blue arrows in this photo, which covers an area 390 miles (630-kilometer) wide.

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