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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Pluto in Hi-Res

Pluto in Hi-Res

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Sunday, December 6, 2015/Categories: natural history, photography, space science, environment, adventure

   Ice Mountains and Shoreline on Pluto in Hi-Resolution (credit: New Horizons/JPL)

The New Horizons space probe continues returning images from the probe's dramatic fly-by of Pluto this summer. Several of the closest encounters include stunning vistas visible in great detail. The new photographic releases include geologic images offering a variety of cratered, mountainous, and glacial terrains on Pluto in super-high resolution. The latest releases image a strip of Pluto's surface 50 miles wide, on a world 3 billion miles away from Earth, and seen at a city block scale.

In one image, great blocks of Pluto’s water-ice crust appear jammed together in the informally named al-Idrisi mountains. The high-res details show crumpled ridges in rubbly material surrounding several of the mountains. According to New Horizons researchers, the photo reinforced their earlier impressions that Pluto's mountains are huge blocks of faulted ice that have been jostled, tumbled, and somehow transported to their present locations.

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                                                     Badlands on Pluto (credit: New Horizons/JPL)

Erosion and faulting have modified a portion of Pluto’s icy crust into rugged badlands of jumbled topography.
Another image shows Pluto’s rugged, icy plains, including layering inside interior walls of many Impact craters suggesting that Pluto's crust is distinctly layered in places,

 

              
                                         Pitted Craters and Plains, Pluto   (credit: New Horizons)

New Horizons project managers at JPL say even more high-res photos remain to be returned from the probe. So far, they continue to provide amazing results exposed by the remote mission at the edge of the solar system.

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