New Horizons mission edging closer to Pluto

by Colin Stuart

Excitement is building as NASA's New Horizons probe is inching ever nearer to Pluto. Launched in 2006, the mission is set to arrive at the dwarf planet on July 14. The latest images beamed back by its cameras are beginning to show the surface features that it will be able to explore once it arrives.

New views of Pluto from New Horizons [credit: NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI] New views of Pluto from New Horizons [credit: NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI]

These images were taken between 8 and 12 May, but even by the time the last image was taken New Horizons was still 75 million kilometres from its destination - about half the distance between the Earth and the Sun. The pictures will get ever sharper as the probe closes down on Pluto. Those taken once it arrived are sure to be one the astronomical highlights of 2015!.