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NASA's latest image of Pluto reveals icy mountains

Nicole Lee, @nicole
July 15, 2015
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A day after we caught a glimpse of the best photo we've seen yet of Pluto, NASA has released an even closer shot of the dwarf planet: Behold the image above. In a press conference today, the team behind NASA's New Horizons probe gave more information about what they learned from these new images. "This is a very young surface because we have yet to find craters," said John Spencer from the Southwest Research Institute. "It's less than a 100 million years old." The mountains you see in that photo measure up to 11,000 feet high and is primarily made out of icy bedrock, while the overall surface appears to be covered in a layer of nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide.

Aside from Pluto, the New Horizons probe also got better pictures of Pluto's moons, particularly Charon (seen above), the largest of all five. There appears to be a dark spot near its north pole, which the team amusingly dubbed Mordor. They also spotted a canyon of around four to six miles deep. The New Horizons probe also caught a picture of Hydra, Pluto's outermost moon, though the image is much more pixilated. It's only 28 miles wide and 19 miles tall and apparently is so reflective that it's probably composed mostly out of water ice. Oh, and as for that "heart" on Pluto that we saw earlier? It's now officially named "Tombaugh Regio" after Clyde Tombaugh who discovered the dwarf planet. NASA plans to have another press briefing on Friday to go over more details uncovered about Pluto's surface.

In this article: nasa, pluto
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