Take a Digital Magnifying Glass to an Epic New Map of Pluto
Remember New Horizons? I know, I know, you’ve been distracted with all the local space news happening lately, what with reusable rockets landing on Earth and on drone ships and probably even a turtle’s back by this point. But the little space probe that flew by Pluto last July is still truckin’ on through the Kuiper belt, moving toward its next icy destination. And it’s still sending back images from its historic encounter with the dwarf planet and its moons.
The spacecraft has already sent back the highest-resolution images possible of Pluto’s surface. This new global map is blurry in spots, but that’s because it includes every single image that New Horizons took between July 7 and 14—including some that made it back to Earth just a few days ago. That’s 18 miles to a pixel on the outer edges, and just 770 feet to a pixel in the center, where you can see Pluto’s iconic heart-shaped Tombaugh Regio.
Take a gander at those smooth plains of nitrogen ice and mountains of water ice with our magnifying glass tool. And get ready for some more zoomable images; NASA released color versions of its highest-res shots shortly after the black-and-white ones, so a global color map might come soon. New Horizons will keep sending images back until early fall.