New Horizons scientists use enhanced colour images to detect differences in the composition and texture of Pluto’s surface. When close-up images are combined with colour data from the Ralph instrument, it paints a new and surprising portrait of the dwarf planet. The “heart of the heart,” Sputnik Planum, is suggestive of a source region of ices. The two bluish-white “lobes” that extend to the southwest and northeast of the “heart” may represent exotic ices being transported away from Sputnik Planum.
Four images from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) were combined with colour data from the Ralph instrument to create this enhanced colour global view. The images, taken when the spacecraft was 450,000 kilometres (280,000 miles) away, show features as small as 2.2 kilometres (1.4 miles).