NASA's New Horizons probe performed the first-ever flyby of Pluto, zooming within 7,800 miles of its frigid surface. The close encounter is giving researchers their first up-close looks at Pluto, which has remained mysterious since its 1930 discovery.
Measurements with NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft have revealed that Pluto’s atmosphere has an unexpectedly low surface pressure compared to that derived from previous observations. Flowing ice and a surprising extended haze are among the newest discoveries from NASA’s New Horizons mission, which reveal distant Pluto to be an icy world of wonders.
Just seven hours after closest approach, New Horizons aimed its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) back at Pluto, capturing sunlight streaming through the atmosphere and revealing hazes as high as 80 miles above Pluto’s surface. A preliminary analysis of the image shows two distinct layers of haze: one about 50 miles above the surface and the other at an altitude of about 30 miles.