NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has sent back a number of close-up images of Pluto, images that could be the most detailed we see of the dwarf planet for decades.
The images depict craters, mountains, and glacial terrain, and were taken by the spacecraft in July of this year.
"These close-up images, showing the diversity of terrain on Pluto, demonstrate the power of our robotic planetary explorers to return intriguing data to scientists back here on planet Earth," said John Grunsfeld, administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, in a statement. "New Horizons thrilled us during the July flyby with the first close images of Pluto, and as the spacecraft transmits the treasure trove of images in its onboard memory back to us, we continue to be amazed by what we see."
The new photos will help scientists better understand the geology of Pluto, as well as the geological history of the planet.
New Horizons will continue to send back these high resolution photos over the next few weeks, with the photos having been taken by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager around 10,000 miles away from the planet. In fact, it will reportedly take as long as one year for the spacecraft to transmit all of the photos and data back to Earth.
The images were taken with a different observing mode. Instead of the standard "point and shoot," the sensor captured images every three seconds while the surface of Pluto was being scanned. The images themselves are six times better than previous photos of Pluto, and five times better than the images taken from Pluto's cousin, Triton, taken in 1989 by Voyager 2.
Check out the video below for a compilation of the images by NASA.