NASA's spaceprobe New Horizons made history this week when it flew within 12,500 kilometres of the distant dwarf planet Pluto-capturing never-before-seen details of the icy body a-its moons. The spacecraft-launched in 2006-traveled five billion kilometres over nine-and-a-half years to reach the Pluto system a-now heads on into the Kuiper Belt to capture further images. Here we publish a collection of images it sent back to Ear-this week...


ON THE FINAL APPROACH: The la-a-mo-detailed image of Pluto taken by New Horizon's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager on 13-July-prior to its flyby. The spacecraft was 768,000 kilometres from the surface when this image was taken. It shows the 1,000 kilometre wide-bright geographic feature dubbed the "heart". PICTURE: NASA/APL/SwRI

Pluto - close up

CLOSE-UP: A detailed look at a region near Pluto's equator shows a range of mountains rising as high as 3.5 kilometres above the planet's icy surface. PICTURE: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI



COMPARATIVE VIEW: Data gained from the flyby of Pluto revealed the dwarf planet has a diameter of 2,370 kilometres-equivalent to 18.5 per cent of Earth's-while the moon Charon has a diameter of 1,208 km-9.5 per cent of that of Earth. GRAPHIC: NASA



SATELLITE: Pluto's large-moon-Charon-taken from a distance of 466,000 kilometres.



Mission Control

CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION: New Horizons flight controllers at the Missions Operations Center in Maryla-celebrate after receiving confirmation from the spacecraft that it had successfully completed the flyby of Pluto on 14-July. PICTURE: NASA/Bill Ingalls