Nearly a year after the historic Pluto flyby, data from the New Horizons space probe still keeps pouring in.
This time, thanks to the images sent by the space probe, NASA has created the most intricate global map of the dwarf planet to date. The details of this composite map are truly visually stunning.
The panchromatic or black-and-white map of the dwarf planet includes all resolved images taken from July 7 to July 14, 2015.
The images possess pixel resolutions that range from 30 kilometers (18 miles) per pixel on the hemisphere that faces Charon to 235 meters (770 feet) per pixel on the hemisphere that faced the space probe during the closest approach. Some of the map's parts are blurry due to the greater distances at which they were captured.
Several of the images added to the global map were received as lately as April 25 because it takes more than a year for New Horizons to transmit all collected data — a result of bandwidth limitations.
NASA will continue to incorporate new images to the global map as it receives them. The space agency is also working on creating improved color maps of the dwarf planet. All images from the flyby are expected to arrive by early fall this year.
NASA also revealed a shaded relief view of Sputnik Planum, the region that surrounds the left side of the dwarf planet's heart-shaped feature.
This image shows the vast expanse of Pluto's frozen surface, which is on average about 3 kilometers (2 miles) lower than the nearby terrain. Pieces of water ice with sharp and angled corners appear to float amid the deposits of denser and softer solid nitrogen.
In late April, New Horizons also released images of bright halo craters on Pluto, something that left scientists baffled. The bright spots located in Pluto's Vega Terra region were supposedly made up of methane ice.
The awe-inspiring photos were taken from 28,000 miles and 106,700 miles from Pluto. Why the methane ice craters were present in the Vega Terra region remains a mystery.
In the meantime, New Horizons is headed to its next mission: an icy body located in the Kuiper Belt.