Extreme Pluto close-up by New Horizons probe shows most detailed - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Extreme Pluto close-up by New Horizons probe shows most detailed view yet


(ABC) -- It's been nearly one year since New Horizons sped past Pluto, but the space probe is still sending back incredible images from its flyby of the dwarf planet.

The latest image released by NASA may be the best one yet, with the high resolution mosaic photo showing Pluto's exotic terrain in close detail. The images were snapped from 9,850 miles away and about 23 minutes before the probe approached its closest point in its historic flyby of the dwarf planet.

"This new image product is just magnetic,” Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator said in a statement. "It makes me want to go back on another mission to Pluto and get high-resolution images like these across the entire surface."

NASA has also put together a video guided tour of the 50-mile-wide strip comprising the mosaic, pointing out everything from "chaotic and angular mountain ranges" to Pluto's nitrogen glaciers.

New Horizons passed Pluto on July 14, 2015. Since then, the probe has been busy on an estimated year-long data dump, transmitting information from its journey back to Earth.

The piano-sized probe is now speeding through the Kuiper Belt, an area at the edge of our solar system. New Horizons loses about a few watts of power each year, according to NASA, but is estimated to have as much as 20 years left in its life expectancy.

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