Pluto’s Icy Plains Captured by New Horizons
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft returned this image of the sharpest view of a swath of Pluto to the very center of the informally named Sputnik Planum.
The pictures are part of a sequence taken near New Horizons’ closest approach to Pluto.
The images shown here form a strip 50 miles (80 kilometers) wide and more than 400 miles (700 kilometers) long, trending from the northwestern shoreline of Sputnik Planum and out across its icy plains.
The resolutions of the image is about 250-280 feet (77-85 meters) per pixel — revealing features smaller than half a city block on Pluto’s surface.
The surface of Sputnik Planum appears darker toward the shore (at top), possibly implying a change in composition or surface texture. The occasional raised, darker blocks at the cell edges are probably dirty water “icebergs” floating in denser solid nitrogen.