Image of the Day: The Frigid Frozen Canyons of Pluto's North Pole

Contributed by
Mar 4, 2016, 3:01 PM EST

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, drifting deep out into the Kuiper Belt, has returned another striking image of the icy dwarf planet for us to behold.  In this stark shot, long winding canyons run vertically across the northern polar area beside irregular pits and shallow valleys.  The region is informally named Lowell Regio, for Percival Lowell, founder of the Lowell Observatory and the man who initiated the search that led to Pluto’s discovery. 

This desolate, detailed image was obtained by New Horizons’ Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) at an image resolution of approximately 2,230 feet per pixel.  The lower edge of the photo measures about 750 miles across.  It was obtained at a range of 21,100 miles from Pluto, 45 minutes before New Horizons’ closest approach on July 14, 2015. 

What do you think of this crisp cratered image of Pluto's placid north pole?


(Via NASA/New Horizons)