Latest New Horizons Photos Make Pluto Look Positively Welcoming

By Gary Cutlack on at

This latest batch of images from the New Horizons probe take us even closer to the surface of the dwarf planet, showing staggering surface detail that includes mountains, plains, frozen nitrogen streams and hazy little fog clouds.

The photos were taken by the probe's MVIC imaging system back on July 14, but due to shitty broadband in that part of the solar system are only now arriving back here on earth. To give you a sense of scale, the scene pictured above includes around 780 miles of the former planet's surface. Here it is at clickable full-size resolution, as it's particularly amazing:

Alan Howard, from the mission’s Geology and Imaging team at the University of Virginia, said: "We did not expect to find hints of a nitrogen-based glacial cycle on Pluto operating in the frigid conditions of the outer solar system. Driven by dim sunlight, this would be directly comparable to the hydrological cycle that feeds ice caps on Earth, where water is evaporated from the oceans, falls as snow, and returns to the seas through glacial flow."

They say this image shows fog. Fog on Pluto. Imagine you got there for your holiday, then it's just a week of fog surrounding your glamping chalet. You'd be gutted and asking Elon Musk for a refund.

And this is apparently looking back at the sun, at sunset. Imagine the Instagram likes it'd generate. [New Horizons]