As the Piano-Sized New Horizons Spacecraft Approaches, Pluto and Charon Are Coming Into Intriguing Focus

The New Horizons spacecraft is about 13 million miles from Pluto and its largest moon, Charon. If that seems really far, consider the image above.

It was captured by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager instrument, or LORI, when the piano-sized spacecraft was even farther away — 20 million miles, give or take. Yet LORI could begin to pick out some intriguing surface detail on both bodies.

Note the light and dark features on Pluto, to the right, which are indicative of large-scale aspec

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