NASA Probe Captures Pluto's Ice Mountains In Colour


NASA has released a new image showing huge mountains of ice on the surface of Pluto - in colour.

The colour, in near-infrared, red and blue was captured by the Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera and added to original images captured by the New Horizons probe.

Each pixel in the images is about 80 feet of Pluto’s surface.

The images - taken 15 minutes before New Horizons’ approach to the planet on July 14 - show off the icy world in unprecedented detail (80m per pixel).

Since the probe’s fly-past, it has been slowly transmitting the data it captured back to Earth - meaning these images have only arrived now.

'These close-up images, showing the diversity of terrain on Pluto, demonstrate the power of our robotic planetary explorers to return intriguing data to scientists back here on planet Earth,' said John Grunsfeld of NASA.

'New Horizons thrilled us during the July flyby with the first close images of Pluto, and as the spacecraft transmits the treasure trove of images in its onboard memory back to us, we continue to be amazed by what we see.'

NASA describes one of the icy, alien shorelines on the planet, saying, ‘Great blocks of Pluto’s water-ice crust appear jammed together in the informally named al-Idrisi mountains.

‘Some mountain sides appear coated in dark material, while other sides are bright. Several sheer faces appear to show crustal layering, perhaps related to the layers seen in some of Pluto’s crater walls.

‘Other materials appear crushed between the mountains, as if these great blocks of water ice, some standing as much as 1.5 miles high, were jostled back and forth.’

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