The photo was taken on April 9 and scientists say that it will help them better understand the two planets, Pluto and Charon.
Jim Green, director at NASA’s Planetary Science Division, explained that the new color photo reveals several differences between the two planets, details that were not visible with previous black and white images.
According to Green, the color photos show that Pluto is actually brighter than its moon, possibly because the two bodies have different body compositions. Also, the scientists believe that this brightness is caused by the fact that Charon has an atmosphere that was not visible before.
NASA’s New Horizon will get a better glimpse of the two planets when it will get closer to them in July, said the astronomers.
New Horizon will get closer to the Pluto over the next few months and take photos of it for scientists to analyze it at a higher resolution.
Ultimately, New Horizon will fly right past the dwarf planet around the date of July 14, according to the scientists in charge of the mission.
By doing this, the scientists will have color photos of Pluto, as well as images of the planet’s surface.
If everything goes according to plans, the mission will result in the best close up images of a planet since the Voyager 2 circled around Neptune back in the 1980s.
Alan Stern, a scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado, explained that NASA’s New Horizons is actually the exploration spacecraft of the 21st century and it has extraordinary capacities of investigating the planetary bodies.
Stern added that New Horizons is in perfect condition, is fueled to the maximum and carries a scientific arsenal with it.
Scientists say that this spacecraft is so advanced that it’s actually equipped with the most powerful array of science instruments that were designed to observe a planet.
The astronomers were able to get a close-up of Pluto decades after they observed planets like Venus, Mars and Neptune.
According to the scientists, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has been traveling through space for more than nine years and has managed to cover more than 3 billion miles in it mission, which is actually the longest period of space travel in history.
Image Source: sott