When the New Horizons spacecraft passes Pluto in 2015 it will be the furthest object from the Earth that has been examined up close, although even at its closet New Horizons will pass Pluto at a distance of around 9,650 kilometres.
New Horizons Photos
The image above and two below images were created by combining black and white photos from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) with colour data from its Ralph instrument.
The following two images are among the first few images of Pluto and its moon Charon returned by New Horizons’ LORRI (LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager) and were taken from over 100 million kilometres.
Before the photos returned by New Horizons the below images from the Hubble Space Telescope were the most detailed images of Pluto available.
Pluto before flyby: https://instagram.com/p/5HTXKMoaFL/
Pluto 8 million km: www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-s-new-horizons-a-heart-from-pluto-as-flyby-begins
Pluto Mysterious Dark Spots: www.nasa.gov/feature/latest-images-of-pluto-from-new-horizons
Pluto and Charon Orbit: www.nasa.gov/nh/pluto-charon-surfaces-in-color
First Pluto & Charon Colour Image: www.nasa.gov/content/first-pluto-charon-color-image-from-new-horizons
Pluto/Charon Orbit Animation: www.nasa.gov/image-feature/new-horizons-sees-pluto-and-charon
Pluto & its Five Moons: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/new-pluto-moon.html
Pluto Hubble Map: hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/solar%20system/pluto/2010/06/image/c/
Pluto from Hubble 1994: hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/solar%20system/pluto/1994/17/image/a/