Hear the Call of Cthulhu with New Pics of Pluto
If you’ve been waiting and dreaming for more high-resolution images of Pluto, the stars are now right: there’s a new mosaic from New Horizons out that snakes across the dwarf planet’s rugged (and notably non-Euclidean) surface, displaying many types of fascinating terrain: craters, pits, jumbled ice mounds, and the edges of a large dark region dubbed “Cthulhu” after the tentacled elder god of H.P. Lovecraft fame. Ia! Ia!
The images in the full mosaic were acquired on July 14 just before New Horizons’ closest approach by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) instrument in “ride-along” mode with the LEISA spectrometer.
New Horizons made its historic close pass by Pluto and its moons on July 14, 2015, after nine and a half years of travel through the Solar System. It is currently over 35 AU (3.26 billion miles) away from Earth (and 1.25 AU from Pluto) heading toward a Jan. 2019 pass of 2014 MU69, its next target world in the Kuiper Belt.