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NASA New Horizons Pluto

Pluto far side

11 Jul, 2015

New Horizons' last look at Pluto's Charon-facing hemisphere reveals intriguing geologic details that are of keen interest to mission scientists. This image, taken early the morning of July 11, 2015, shows newly-resolved linear features above the equatorial region that intersect, suggestive of polygonal shapes. This image was captured when the spacecraft was 2.5 million miles (4 million kilometers) from Pluto.At 4 million km (2.5 million miles), New Horizons takes this photo of Pluto’s far side showing four dark mysterious spots about 480 km (300 miles) across. The spots are connected to a dark belt that circles Pluto’s equatorial region. What continues to pique the interest of scientists is their similar size and even spacing.

It’s weird that they’re spaced so regularly. We can’t tell whether they’re plateaus or plains, or whether they’re brightness variations on a completely smooth surface.

This will be the best picture of Pluto’s far side, which always faces Charon, as the probe will be on the other side as it passes by Pluto.