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Destination Pluto: NASA's New Horizons Mission in Pictures

Sputnik Planum and Norgay Montes on Pluto

NASA TV

NASA's New Horizons space probe obtained this image of the Sputnik Planum and Norgay Montes regions of Pluto, released during a press briefing held on July 17, 2015, at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. [See our complete coverage.]

Pluto Moons Nix and Hydra, Seen by New Horizons

NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

NASA’s New Horizons probe captured these images of the Pluto moons Nix (left) and Hydra (right) on July 14, 2015. The Nix photo was taken from a distance of 102,000 miles (165,000 kilometers), while the Hydra image was snapped from 143,000 miles (231,000 km) away.

First Well-Resolved Image of Nix

NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

NASA's New Horizons space probe obtained the first well-resolved image of Nix, Pluto's moon, released during a press briefing held on July 17, 2015, at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. [See our complete coverage.]

Frozen Carbon Monoxide on Pluto

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

New Horizons’ Ralph instrument revealed evidence of carbon monoxide ice on Pluto, in the western part of the region known presently as Tombaugh Regio (Tombaugh Region), the highly visible "heart of Pluto." The contours overlain on the image show that the concentration of frozen carbon monoxide increases towards the center of the “bull’s eye.” The data was acquired by the spacecraft on July 14, 2015, and transmitted to Earth on July 16. [See our complete coverage.]

Pluto's Escaping Atmosphere

NASA/APL/SwRI

This diagram depicts the interaction of the solar wind (the supersonic outflow of electrically charged particles from the sun) with Pluto’s mainly nitrogen atmosphere. Some of the atmosphere's molecules possess enough energy to overcome Pluto’s weak gravity and escape into space. Image released July 17, 2015. [See our complete coverage.]

Charon Close-Up, July 16, 2015

NASA-JHUAPL-SwR

NASA's New Horizons space probe found a strange feature on Pluto's moon, Charon, a depression with a peak in the middle. The image was taken on July 14, 2015 at a range of 49,000 miles (79,000 km). [Read full story.]

New Horizons Closest View of Pluto

NASA TV

New Horizons space probe provides the highest resolution image of Pluto ever seen as presented in a NASA press conference on July 15, 2015, at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland. This region near Pluto’s equator surprisingly contains a range of youthful mountains rising to heights of 11,000 feet (3,500 m) above the surface. [See a video of the flyby.]

New Horizons Close View of Charon

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

New Horizons provides unprecedented details of Pluto's moon, Charon, as presented in a NASA press conference on July 15, 2015, at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland. [See a video of the flyby.]

Methane on Pluto

NASA TV

New Horizons' Ralph instrument using the LEISA spectrometer obtained information about the distribution of methane on Pluto, as presented in a NASA press conference on July 15, 2015, at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland. [See a video of the flyby.]

Hydra Revealed

NASA TV

For the first time, New Horizons revealed the shape and size of Pluto's moon, Hydra, as presented in a NASA press conference on July 15, 2015, at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland. [See a video of the flyby.]

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Space.com Staff

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.