NASA rock-teases us with tantalizing up-close Pluto shot


At a press conference this afternoon, NASA revealed the first close-up details of the surface of Pluto.

Based on the observations of the New Horizons probe, already a million miles beyond its flyby date with the icy planet, NASA reports that the Pluto's atmosphere is being lost to space at a rate of 10^27 molecules per second. Water ice is directly observed on the surface in the incoming imaging data, more of which will be released later this week. Below: Pluto's moon Charon, never before seen at this level of detail.


Here's the first resolved image of Pluto's moon Hydra, composed primary of water-ice.


Methane on Pluto, mapped.


For more details, check out Xeni's coverage of the conference.