Astonishing images reveal Pluto is Mars-like red
ASTONISHING images taken from Nasa's New Horizon's spacecraft have shown for the first time that Pluto is red like Mars.
Scientists were expecting to find a dark, icy world, but the first close up shots sent back from the probe show a rusty tint.
Nasa posted a stunning new image of Pluto on Instagram, taken by New Horizons from a distance of 476,000 miles. The closest ever picture of Pluto taken by Nasa as it approached the new red planet.
It clearly shows the dwarf planet's surprising Mars-like reddish hue, and the enigmatic heart-shaped feature on its surface that has already become Pluto's calling card on the internet.
The nine-year mission to Pluto reached its climax on Tuesday when New Horizons flew close to the dwarf planet before journeying into the Wild West of space - the Third Zone.
Nasa scientists played The Final Countdown, by 1980s rock band Europe, to mark the historic occasion (the US is the only nation to have visited every planet in the solar system).
Gorgeous Pluto! The dwarf planet has sent a love note back to Earth via our New Horizons spacecraft, which has traveled more than 9 years and 3+ billion miles. This is the last and most detailed image of Pluto sent to Earth before the moment of closest approach, which was at 7:49 a.m. EDT Tuesday - about 7,750 miles above the surface -- roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India - making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth. This stunning image of the dwarf planet was captured from New Horizons at about 4 p.m. EDT on July 13, about 16 hours before the moment of closest approach. The spacecraft was 476,000 miles (766,000 kilometers) from the surface. Images from closest approach are expected to be released on Wednesday, July 15. Image Credit: NASA #nasa #pluto #plutoflyby #newhorizons#solarsystem #nasabeyond #science