Monday, December 7, 2015

A striking shoreline emerges in best images from Pluto mission

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has returned the best pictures of Pluto the world may ever see. The new images, at resolutions of about 80 meters per pixel, show a striking shoreline, where smooth plains of nitrogen ice from Pluto’s “heart” rub up against water ice mountains several kilometers high. The jumbled-up rubble at the base of the ice mountains helps confirm team members’ theories that the mountains are, in fact, giant icebergs that have moved around on more plastic layers of nitrogen ice below. The spacecraft made its closest approach to the dwarf planet in July. But because of the great distances and the spacecraft’s low-power antenna, some of the best data are reaching Earth only now.

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