Images of Pluto
Pinku-Sensei, with music added). Seriously, New Horizons is now sending images like these (click each to enlarge) of a planet which until now was nothing but a blurry dot to us:
discussion here). In Pluto's extreme cold and low gravity, ice is rigid enough to form such features.
This overview picture was taken just before the closest approach, showing the variety of the terrain:
This is Charon, Pluto's largest and closest-in moon:
And these aren't even the real high-resolution images yet. New Horizons collected so much data that it will take about 16 months to transmit everything back here. Updates will continue to be posted on the mission page.
This machine is working perfectly at hundreds of degrees below zero, after nine and a half years of travel, sending us mountains of information about a place thirteen thousand times further away than our Moon -- showing what we as a species can accomplish when we put our minds to it.
If only Galileo, Copernicus, Aristarchus could have lived to see this!
Pluto is named after the Roman god of the underworld, while Charon in Greek mythology was the ferryman who carried the souls of the dead across the river Styx to Hades. Now that a wealth of newly-discovered surface features on both worlds need naming, we're giving them similarly dark and underworld names from mythology and literature (found via Progressive Erupts). In the very unlikely event that Pluto is ever colonized, some people will have "Cthulhu" as part of their address.