NASA's New Horizons spacecraft doesn't attain its closest rendezvous with Pluto until July 14th, 2015, but check out these new images and animated video taken as the mission's trajectory soared toward the dwarf planet at the range of 9.2-7.8 million miles away. Hints of a ruddy reddish-brown color and the odd, bumpy surface details are causing scientists and astronomers around the globe to shiver with anticipation at what might be revealed during the upcoming fly-by next week.
Also visible in the edited color video is Pluto's biggest moon, Charon, captured in a sequence of orbital shots snapped by the intrepid spacecraft's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) between June 23rd and July 3rd and color-enhanced based on additional Ralph instrument imaging data. Have a look..
“It’s exciting to see Pluto and Charon in motion and in color,” says Alan Stern, New Horizons' principal investigator, in a NASA press release. “Even at this low resolution, we can see that Pluto and Charon have different colors—Pluto is beige-orange, while Charon is grey. Exactly why they are so different is the subject of debate.”
Are you intrigued by those mysterious dark patches on Pluto's surface and what wonders they might conceal?
(Via USA TODAY)