A year from today a NASA probe will beam back photos of Pluto's surface - but scientists aren't entirely sure what we'll see.
NASA's New Horizons probe is currently plowing steadily toward the Kuiper belt, a region of frozen objects where the largest of which is the dwarf planet Pluto. But as we only have a few fuzzy Hubble observations to work from, it won't be until the mission beams back its photographs that we'll be sure what the little world looks like up-close.
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"Because Pluto has never been visited up-close by a spacecraft from Earth, everything we see will be a first," said Adriana Ocampo, the Program Executive for NASA's New Frontiers program at NASA headquarters, in a news release. "I know this will be an astonishing experience full of history making moments."
The Pluto flyby is due to occur in July 2015 and the robotic probe will fly through the Pluto-Charon system, coming within 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) from the little world's surface. It will be a risky maneuver, but it will be worth it. From that distance with New Horizons' high resolution cameras, if it was flying past Earth, the mission would be able to resolve individual buildings.