Days after Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft suffered a technical glitch, the spacecraft has sent back the most detailed image of Pluto. The photograph taken by its Long Reconnaissance Imager from a distance of about 5 million miles shows a large bright heart-shaped area measuring some 2,000 kilometre across the dwarf planet’s surface.
Towards the left of the heart lies a 3,000 kilometre dark patch along Pluto’s equator which scientists referred to as ‘the whale’. The spacecraft has traversed three billion mile long journey to Pluto spanning nine years. New Horizons spacecraft will make a flyby of Pluto on 14 July when its proximity to the dwarf planet will be 12,500 kilometre. The image that will be captured then will be 500 times better than the present one.
Pluto is dominated by three broad regions of varying brightness i.e. the dark patch at the equator, the bright heart shaped area and a polar region above the two that is slightly bright.