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Earlier this week, there was a mishap—or,  as the Captain would say, there was a "failure to communicate"— with New Horizons: the spaceprobe dispatched to explore the dwarf planet, Pluto. As of now, all systems are up and running once again, and the little probe that could remains on course for its rendezvous with the Plutonian system.

It is expected to come within 7,750 miles (12,500 kilometers) of Pluto on July 14th; the event will mark the very first time that the enigmatic minor planet and its equally fascinating moons are studied up close and personal, before the probe ventures into the icy unknown—deep within the Kuiper Belt.

In the days since the minor glitch, new images have trickled out, the latest batch is the most detailed yet. Taken from a distance of 5 million miles (8 million kilometers), astronomers are now able to make out Pluto's surface features, most fascinating is that of a heart-shaped formation, which occupies a huge chunk of the surface.

In the slider below,you will see images New Horizons took over the last leg of its journey, charting Pluto's evolution from a black and white, featureless blob, to the dynamic and colorful alien world now within our sights.

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Image Credits: NASA/JPL//Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute


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