The photos that continue to be sent back to Earth from the New Horizons probe are also continuing to stun scientists. So many of the geological features and processes that the photos show were not predicted by anyone. Besides being stunning to scientists, they are also stunningly beautiful and in some ways strangely familiar. We found a fascinating photo essay on the NASA website that provided these astounding images.
#1: Majestic Mountains and Atmospheric Layers
This photo was taken about 15 minutes after New Horizons’ closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015, as the craft moved away from the planet, it took this “rear view mirror” photo, showing icy mountains and the many layers of Pluto’s nitrogen atmosphere.
#2: Close Up on That Same View
Zooming in on that view, the landscape starts to look vaguely familiar, like the polar icescapes of Earth, with 11,000 foot mountains and flows of ice.
#3 EXTREME Closeup!
Zooming even further in, additional astounding details are revealed:
“This image really makes you feel you are there, at Pluto, surveying the landscape for yourself,” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado. “But this image is also a scientific bonanza, revealing new details about Pluto’s atmosphere, mountains, glaciers and plains.”
The NASA.com article continues:
The image shows more than a dozen thin haze layers extending from near the ground to at least 60 miles (100 kilometers) above the surface. In addition, the image reveals at least one bank of fog-like, low-lying haze illuminated by the setting sun against Pluto’s dark side, raked by shadows from nearby mountains.
“In addition to being visually stunning, these low-lying hazes hint at the weather changing from day to day on Pluto, just like it does here on Earth,” said Will Grundy, lead of the New Horizons Composition team from Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona.
The next image is really remarkable, from what you might call a “romantic” point of view, please continue to the next page to see what we mean…