NASA New Horizons spacecraft has officially arrived at Pluto and the Kuiper belt after a decade in space. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden stated, "Once again we have achieved a historic first. The United States is the first nation to reach Pluto, and with this mission has completed the initial survey of our solar system, a remarkable accomplishment that no other nation can match." Accomplishments aside, these are the clearest images we have ever seen of Pluto.
The New Horizons vehicle has traveled nearly 3 billion miles to get these first flyby shots of Pluto. After that it will explore the five moons that surround the planet. According to NASA, the vehicle is in information gathering mode currently, and they should have a clearer picture of other images capture by 9 p.m. tonight. The initial images were taken by the New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) at a distance of 476,000 miles (768,000 kilometers) from the surface of Pluto. The images provide clear images of the surface of Pluto, and a view at the "heart" of the planet. According to NASA, it initially appears featureless in terms of topographical measurements but could be a hotbed for geological activity.
The New Horizions' space craft has "phoned home" signaling to NASA that is has made it's successful flyby of Pluto. With that ping back to earth came more images from the surface. Earlier today NASA tweeted out this video showing the "icy mountains" of Pluto.