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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.
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.

A Binary Planet in Color

Pluto shows two remarkably different sides in these color images of the planet and its largest moon, Charon, taken by NASA's New Horizons on June 25 and June 27, 2015.
Pluto shows two remarkably different sides in these color images of the planet and its largest moon, Charon, taken by NASA's New Horizons on June 25 and June 27, 2015.

Two Faces of Pluto July 1

This enhanced color view from NASA's New Horizons is of Pluto's surface diversity At lower right, ancient, heavily cratered terrain is coated with dark, reddish tholins. At upper right, volatile ices fill the informally named Sputnik Planum.
This enhanced color view from NASA's New Horizons is of Pluto's surface diversity At lower right, ancient, heavily cratered terrain is coated with dark, reddish tholins. At upper right, volatile ices fill the informally named Sputnik Planum.

Surface Diversity

Images downloaded from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft (through Sept. 11, 2015) were stitched together and rendered on a sphere to make this flyover 'movie.' This is a frame from the animation.
Images downloaded from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft (through Sept. 11, 2015) were stitched together and rendered on a sphere to make this flyover 'movie.' This is a frame from the animation.

Flyover Sputnik Planum

This image contains the initial, informal names being used by NASA's New Horizons team for the features and regions on the surface of Pluto. These names have not yet been approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
This image contains the initial, informal names being used by NASA's New Horizons team for the features and regions on the surface of Pluto. These names have not yet been approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

Informal Names for Features on Pluto

An artist's concept of the dwarf planet Eris and its moon Dysnomia. The sun is the small star in the distance.
An artist's concept of the dwarf planet Eris and its moon Dysnomia. The sun is the small star in the distance.

Eris and Dysnomia (Artist's Concept)

This image contains the initial, informal names being used by NASA's New Horizons team for the features and regions on the surface of Pluto's largest moon, Charon. These names have not yet been approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
This image contains the initial, informal names being used by NASA's New Horizons team for the features and regions on the surface of Pluto's largest moon, Charon. These names have not yet been approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

Informal Names for Features on Pluto's Moon Charon

Pluto and Charon, the largest of Pluto's five known moons, seen Jan. 25 and 27, 2015, through the telescopic Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft.
Pluto and Charon, the largest of Pluto's five known moons, seen Jan. 25 and 27, 2015, through the telescopic Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft.

A Long-Distance Look from LORRI

This image contains the initial, informal names being used by the New Horizons team for the features on Pluto's Sputnik Planum (plain). These names have not yet been approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
This image contains the initial, informal names being used by the New Horizons team for the features on Pluto's Sputnik Planum (plain). These names have not yet been approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

Informal Names for Features on Pluto's Sputnik Planum

The Long Range Reconnaissance Imager on NASA New Horizons acquired images of the Pluto field three days apart in late September 2006, in order to see Pluto's motion against a dense background of stars.
The Long Range Reconnaissance Imager on NASA New Horizons acquired images of the Pluto field three days apart in late September 2006, in order to see Pluto's motion against a dense background of stars.

New Horizons Sees Pluto

A white arrow marks Pluto in this NASA New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager picture taken Sept. 24, 2006. Pluto is little more than a faint point of light among a dense field of stars.
A white arrow marks Pluto in this NASA New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager picture taken Sept. 24, 2006. Pluto is little more than a faint point of light among a dense field of stars.

New Horizons Sees Pluto (Sept. 24)

A white arrow marks Pluto in this NASA New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager picture taken Sept. 21, 2006. Pluto is little more than a faint point of light among a dense field of stars.
A white arrow marks Pluto in this NASA New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager picture taken Sept. 21, 2006. Pluto is little more than a faint point of light among a dense field of stars.

New Horizons Sees Pluto (Sept. 21)

The brightest spots on dwarf planet Ceres are seen in this image taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on June 6, 2015.
The brightest spots on dwarf planet Ceres are seen in this image taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on June 6, 2015.

Bright Spots in Ceres' Second Mapping Orbit

In this highest-resolution image from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, great blocks of Pluto's water-ice crust appear jammed together in the informally named al-Idrisi mountains.
In this highest-resolution image from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, great blocks of Pluto's water-ice crust appear jammed together in the informally named al-Idrisi mountains.

The Mountainous Shoreline of Sputnik Planum

This view taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on June 17, 2016, features Liber Crater in Ceres' northern hemisphere, at right.
This view taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on June 17, 2016, features Liber Crater in Ceres' northern hemisphere, at right.

Dawn LAMO Image 143

NASA's Dawn spacecraft captured this view of a region in the mid-southern latitudes of Ceres. The largest crater in the scene is Fluusa. Fluusa has a densely cratered floor and therefore is interpreted as an old impact feature.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft captured this view of a region in the mid-southern latitudes of Ceres. The largest crater in the scene is Fluusa. Fluusa has a densely cratered floor and therefore is interpreted as an old impact feature.

Dawn LAMO Image 33

NASA's Dawn spacecraft views Kupalo Crater in this view of Ceres. Kupalo, which measures 16 miles (26 kilometers) across and is located at southern mid-latitudes, is named for the Slavic god of vegetation and harvest.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft views Kupalo Crater in this view of Ceres. Kupalo, which measures 16 miles (26 kilometers) across and is located at southern mid-latitudes, is named for the Slavic god of vegetation and harvest.

Dawn LAMO Image 182

This area seen by NASA's New Horizons is south of Pluto's dark equatorial band informally named Cthulhu Regio, and southwest of the vast nitrogen ice plains informally named Sputnik Planitia.
This area seen by NASA's New Horizons is south of Pluto's dark equatorial band informally named Cthulhu Regio, and southwest of the vast nitrogen ice plains informally named Sputnik Planitia.

Pluto's Methane Snowcaps on the Edge of Darkness

This recently received panchromatic image of Pluto's small satellite Nix taken by NASA's New Horizons is one of the best images of Pluto's third-largest moon.
This recently received panchromatic image of Pluto's small satellite Nix taken by NASA's New Horizons is one of the best images of Pluto's third-largest moon.

Pluto's Moon Nix, Half Illuminated

This Cerean crater, which is covered in ridges and steep slopes, called scarps, was captured by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on Dec. 23, 2015. These features likely resulted when the crater partly collapsed during its formation.
This Cerean crater, which is covered in ridges and steep slopes, called scarps, was captured by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on Dec. 23, 2015. These features likely resulted when the crater partly collapsed during its formation.

Crater with Scarps in LAMO

These views of Ceres, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on December 10, 2015, shows an area in the southern mid-latitudes of the dwarf planet. They are located around a crater chain called Gerber Catena.
These views of Ceres, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on December 10, 2015, shows an area in the southern mid-latitudes of the dwarf planet. They are located around a crater chain called Gerber Catena.

Dawn LAMO View Around Gerber Catena, Ceres

This view of Ceres, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on December 10, 2015, shows an area in the southern mid-latitudes of the dwarf planet.
This view of Ceres, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on December 10, 2015, shows an area in the southern mid-latitudes of the dwarf planet.

Dawn's Lowest Orbit: Southern Mid-Latitudes

As NASA's New Horizons approached Pluto in late 2014 and then flew by the planet during the summer of 2015, NASA's Chandra obtained data during four separate observations. During each observation, Chandra detected low-energy X-rays from the small planet.
As NASA's New Horizons approached Pluto in late 2014 and then flew by the planet during the summer of 2015, NASA's Chandra obtained data during four separate observations. During each observation, Chandra detected low-energy X-rays from the small planet.

X-Rays from Pluto

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft captured this feature which appears to be a frozen, former lake of liquid nitrogen, located in a mountain range just north of Pluto's informally named Sputnik Planum.
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft captured this feature which appears to be a frozen, former lake of liquid nitrogen, located in a mountain range just north of Pluto's informally named Sputnik Planum.

Pluto: On Frozen Pond

Kupalo Crater, taken Dec. 21, 2016 by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, shows one of the youngest craters on Ceres. The crater has bright material exposed on its rim and walls, which could be salts. Its flat floor likely formed from impact melt and debris.
Kupalo Crater, taken Dec. 21, 2016 by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, shows one of the youngest craters on Ceres. The crater has bright material exposed on its rim and walls, which could be salts. Its flat floor likely formed from impact melt and debris.

Kupalo Crater from LAMO

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