Four images from NASA's New Horizons were combined with color data from the Ralph instrument to create this global view of Pluto. (The lower right edge of Pluto in this view currently lacks high-resolution color coverage.)
This image from NASA's New Horizons highlights the contrasting appearance of the two worlds: Charon is mostly gray, with a dark reddish polar cap, while Pluto shows a wide variety of subtle color variations.
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft captured these images of Pluto's moon Nix which shows a reddish spot that has attracted the interest of the mission scientists (left), and the small, irregularly shaped moon Hydra (right).
A newly discovered mountain range lies near the southwestern margin of Pluto's heart-shaped Tombaugh Regio (Tombaugh Region), situated between bright, icy plains and dark, heavily-cratered terrain as seen by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft.
At center left of Pluto's vast heart-shaped feature ('Tombaugh Regio') lies a vast, craterless plain that appears to be no more than 100 million years old, and is possibly still being shaped by geologic processes as seen by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft.
Artist's Concept of the Interaction of the Solar Wind
Artist's concept of the interaction of the solar wind (the supersonic outflow of electrically charged particles from the Sun) with Pluto's predominantly nitrogen atmosphere based on NASA's New Horizons' SWAP instrument.
Peering closely at the 'heart of Pluto,' in the western half of what mission scientists have informally named Tombaugh Regio (Tombaugh Region), NASA's New Horizons' Ralph instrument revealed evidence of carbon monoxide ice.
These two images of Pluto and Charon were collected separately by NASA's New Horizons during approach on July 13 and July 14, 2015. The relative reflectivity, size, separation, and orientations, and colors are approximated in this composite image.
As one NASA spacecraft sailed past the distant ice world of Pluto, collecting never-before-seen vistas and invaluable science data, NASA' Cassini spacecraft turned its gaze in that direction from its outpost at Saturn.
Like that of Charon, Hydra's surface is probably covered with water ice, the most abundant ice in the universe. This image, with a resolution of 2 miles per pixel, was taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft from approximately 400,000 miles away.
Pluto nearly fills the frame in this image from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, taken on July 13, 2015. This is the last and most detailed image sent to Earth before the spacecraft's closest approach to Pluto on July 14.
Pluto and Charon in False Color Show Compositional Diversity
This July 13, 2015, image of Pluto and Charon is presented in false colors to make differences in surface material and features easy to see. It was obtained by the Ralph instrument on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft.
These circular maps shows the distribution of Pluto's dark and bright terrains as revealed by NASA's New Horizons mission prior to July 4, 2015. In these maps, the polar bright terrain is surrounded by a somewhat darker polar fringe.
NASA Missions Have Their Eyes Peeled on Pluto (Artist's Concept)
This artist's concept shows NASA's fleet of observatories busily gathering data before and after July 14, 2015 to help piece together what we know about Pluto, and what features New Horizons data might help explain.
Hubble Portrait of the "Double Planet" Pluto & Charon
This is the clearest view yet of the distant planet Pluto and its moon, Charon, as revealed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The image was taken by the European Space Agency's Faint Object Camera on February 21, 1994.
This image-based surface map of Pluto was assembled by computer image processing software from four separate images of Pluto's disk taken with the European Space Agency's Faint Object Camera aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.