NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft doesn’t pass Pluto until July 14th — zipping by about 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometres) above the surface of the dwarf planet after a journey of almost 3 billion miles — but the mission team is making tantalising new discoveries as the piano-sized probe bears down on the Pluto system.
What a difference 20 million miles makes! Images of Pluto from NASA’s New Horizons are growing in scale as the spacecraft approaches its mysterious target. The new images, taken May 8th-12th using a powerful telescopic camera and downlinked last week, reveal more detail about Pluto’s complex and high contrast surface.
On July 14th, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will flyby Pluto, offering the first close-up look at that small, distant world. You can help decide what names will be used on subsequent maps of the dwarf planet and its largest moon, Charon, as the SETI Institute announces the launch of its “Our Pluto” campaign.