The images reveal that the dwarf planet has broad surface markings - some bright, some dark - including a bright area at one pole that may be a polar cap."As we approach the Pluto system, we are starting to see intriguing features such as a bright region near Pluto's visible pole, starting the great scientific adventure to understand this enigmatic celestial object," explained John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, DC.

These latest images allow the mission science team to detect clear differences in brightness across Pluto's surface as it rotates."After travelling more than nine years through space, it is stunning to see Pluto, literally a dot of light as seen from the Earth, becoming a real place right before our eyes," added Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator.

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