Pluto photos captivate the public

From mountains to moons, new photos from Pluto have been splashed across mainstream media.

Pluto poses for its close up. Credits: NASA/JHU APL/SwRI

Released this week, the images were collected by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft as it drifted past the dwarf planet on the edges of our solar system.

“Pluto New Horizons is a true mission of exploration showing us why basic scientific research is so important,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “The mission has had nine years to build expectations about what we would see during closest approach to Pluto and Charon. Today, we get the first sampling of the scientific treasure collected during those critical moments, and I can tell you it dramatically surpasses those high expectations.”

Icy mountains on Pluto and a new, crisp view of its largest moon, Charon, are among the several discoveries announced.

The New Zealand media have widely covered these first clear glimpses of Pluto. Examples of the extensive national  coverage include.

3 News: Close up images of Pluto have scientists surprised
Otago Daily Times: Pluto data, images ‘incredible’ Pluto photos from New Horizons reveal mountains of ice
Radio New Zealand: Pluto’s icy surface revealed
TVNZ News: Incredible images of Pluto and moons revealed
New Zealand Herald: Amazing pics the closest you’ll get to Pluto: ‘Another historic leap for humankind’