back to article PLUTO: The FINAL FRONTIER – best image yet of remote, icy dwarf planet REVEALED

As New Horizons hurtles towards its dwarf planet target, NASA boffins have published the most detailed image of Pluto yet. Zooming in. Full size image here The image, snapped by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), was taken on 7 July, when the spacecraft was just under five million miles (eight million kilometres …

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  1. Christoph Silver badge

    " a portion of this region will be imaged at about 500 times better resolution than we see today"

    There will be major problems if the highest resolution photos show any detail that can conceivably be enhanced and twisted into looking vaguely like a face. The conspiracy theorists will have a field day, since there will be no possibility of later higher resolution images which show them up.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Oh dear-

      They'll see the Apollo 'Moon' film stage!

      1. Mpeler
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Oh dear-

        Maybe since it's around Bastille Day, a little French flag (or, better yet, a Boulangerie and cafe....) would be apropos....

        Paris....but of course....

      2. John Sager

        Re: Oh dear-

        Nah, it'll be a copy of Graceland with Elvis still living there.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: Oh dear-

          Actually a swastika cunningly imprinted on the methane ice.

    2. Preston Munchensonton
      Coat

      Why should they care? Pluto isn't even a planet. #sarcasm

    3. Bleu

      They

      have already announced apparent features as a whale (man the harpoons!), a doughnut etc., for PR, don't blame the nutters for playing the same game if they imagine they spot something odd.

  2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Just for a laugh...

    They should definately announce the potential finding of "what appears to be" a long abandoned alien civilisation - and string that one along as far as it'll go.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Just for a laugh...

      I vote for a black monolith.

      1. Geoff May

        Re: Just for a laugh...

        and I would vote for Icehenge.

      2. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Just for a laugh...

        I vote for Elves, that'll put those who redesignated it a Dwarf planet in their place!

        1. Sarah Balfour

          Re: Just for a laugh...

          Elves…?! Thought it was Trolls Dwarves couldn't stand…?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just for a laugh...

      A Gamilon base with a reflex gun? Maybe New Horizon just dodged the first shot - that's why the computer went in safe mode...

    3. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Just for a laugh...

      Oh - they did already.

      That's the real reason why Nixon cancelled the moon program after realising how insanely dangerous that game was becoming with active portals to God-does-actually-not-want-to-know sitting around in space. But, the clincher was the evil technology found in an abandoned temple on the lunar surface by the Apollo XVIII crew; Their sealed copper-iridium caskets and the artefacts are secured with a Cobolt-60 source supplemented by an armed thermonuclear device deep inside the vaults of Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository.

      Of course they then had to store the nuclear waste somewhere else, but the waste is magnitudes less dangerous than the recovered artefacts and the ... "deceased" crew members .

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Just for a laugh...

        Good story, but the only thing they couldn't really do was to launch a Saturn V for a secret Apollo mission without anybody noticing it...

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: Just for a laugh...

          Ah, but the Saturn V was just a decoy. Admittedly quite a big decoy... But the real mission was flown by the Airforce from Edwards on the X51.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Just for a laugh...

        found in an abandoned temple on the lunar surface

        Powerfully channeling Charles Stross, I see.

        Now, imagine if that temple had still been occupied by acolytes!

      4. x 7 Silver badge

        Re: Just for a laugh...

        but....isn't the Saturn V on display at Kennedy the one earmarked for Apollo 18?

    4. Bleu

      Re: Just for a laugh...

      'definately', sure sign of a long-dead civilisation here on Earth.

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Alien

    Maybe they will find

    we rented the planet out to Outsiders, just their kind of environment, apparently.

    On a more serious note: I cannot wait to see the real close-up images.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Maybe they will find

      I thought that was Nereid? OTOH there have been two frozen astronauts there since 1989 (Wait it out).

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        Re: Maybe they will find

        You are right, that was Nereid.

      2. Yugguy

        Re: Maybe they will find

        I think you'll find that the natives of Palian IX will be there already.

        1. Fink-Nottle

          Re: Maybe they will find

          the secret base where the Padishah Emperor Cheney is training his Imperial Sardaukar.

    2. PleebSmash
      Alien

      Re: Maybe they will find

      "I cannot wait to see the real close-up images."

      You can wait 1 week I say

  4. Robin

    Finally

    Finally we'll know whether it's small, or far away.

    (Or both)

    1. et tu, brute?
      Alien

      Re: Finally we'll know whether it's small, or far away...

      ...or protected by a force-field that will cause the probe to change direction before the pictures come into proper focus...

  5. Little Mouse

    For anyone who's tried to "shoot the Moon"...

    I'm impressed - From New Horizons' vantage point, Pluto would have appeared to be around 1/30th the diameter of our Moon (as seen from Earth) at the time that snap was taken.

    Not a bad effort, all things considered.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Windows

      Re: For anyone who's tried to "shoot the Moon"...

      I tried to shoot the moon. But I missed.

      Now I just howl at it...

    2. the spectacularly refined chap

      Re: For anyone who's tried to "shoot the Moon"...

      I'm impressed - From New Horizons' vantage point, Pluto would have appeared to be around 1/30th the diameter of our Moon (as seen from Earth) at the time that snap was taken.

      I wouldn't get too carried away - it's still over twice the apparent size of Mars even at the most favourable opposition. To put it into context I've seen more impressive pictures of Mars taken by amateurs - advanced amateurs with perhaps £4000 of equipment, but still amateurs - even with all the atmospheric distortion involved in observation from Earth.

  6. 0laf Silver badge

    I hope they see something really weird. I can't keep saying this tinfoil hat is for fashion.

    Utterly epic science though.

  7. David Nash Silver badge

    Looks like one of my own pictures of Mars

    Amazing stuff, until this mission, our best image of Pluto was something like 2 pixels.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Looks like one of my own pictures of Mars

      I have a couple of late Victorian Astronomy books in with that very picture of Mars in!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Size.....

    I know this is El Reg...but "2 pixels"...come on.... :D

    1. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Size.....

      Actually yes, 2 pixels.

      A quick google turns up this at the Planetary Society:

      http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2013/02141014-hubble-galaxy-pluto.html

      "not even 3 pixels across in Hubble's view"

  9. W Donelson

    Truly Awesome!

    I remember going into MIT every day many years ago, with the approaching image of Jupiter from the Pioneer 10. Seeing the bands and turbulence and red spot as a swirling storm. Incredible.

    And these pics of Pluto affect me the same way.

    Wonderful. Awesome!

  10. hatti

    Wait a minute

    That's not a planet,.. it's a space station !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait a minute

      Nice one.

  11. teebie

    That's a picture of megaman in profile.

  12. gbru2606

    It's already looking very interesting. Fascinating.

  13. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    informally known as "the whale"

    What about the petunias?

    1. Stoke the atom furnaces

      "What about the petunias?"

      Did 'Oh no, not again' go through its mind?

  14. Stoke the atom furnaces

    PLUTO: the FINAL FRONTIER ???

    There are at least 3 dwarf planets beyond the orbit of Pluto (Eris, Haumea, and Makemake).

    Surely we do not want our ignorance of these worlds to remain intact?

    1. Shrimpling

      Re: PLUTO: the FINAL FRONTIER ???

      http://web.gps.caltech.edu/~mbrown/dps.html

      There are plenty of Dwarf planets beyond the orbit of Neptune just waiting for somebody to explore them.

      134340 Pluto is no where near the Final Frontier.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: PLUTO: the FINAL FRONTIER ???

        Indeed, there is a bit to go until the Galactic Force Field is encountered.

    2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: PLUTO: the FINAL FRONTIER ???

      Hail Eris, hail discordia....

  15. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Go to Jupiter, turn left a bit, then do what is colloquially called a "beeline"

    DAT TRAJECTORY!!

  16. mrbeardy

    The Spice Must Flow

    It looks an awful lot like Arrakis....

  17. Bleu

    Inverse square law

    Pluto must be very dark. I wonder if, to the eye, it would even appear as bright as the scenery on a moonlit night in places with no artificial lights on Earth.

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