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New Pluto photos show rugged edges of its frozen heart

New high-resolution images of the frigid world show much more than just a chunk of frozen rock, detailing what happens at the edge of the dwarf planet's now famous "heart."

The Mountainous Shoreline of Pluto's Sputnik Planum.

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft passed Pluto in July and is now on its way into a region beyond Neptune's orbit called the Kuiper Belt. It's still sending back chunks of data and images from the flyby, however, including some of the most detailed images seen so far of the dwarf planet some 3 billion miles away.

The latest shots come from New Horizons' telescopic Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) shortly before the craft's closest approach.

NASA calls these its "highest resolution" photos of the distant world, revealing a surprising complexity to its geology. Among them is a fascinating shot of where the edge of the large heart-shaped feature on Pluto meets some of its icy mountains.

"The mountains bordering Sputnik Planum (Pluto's heart-shaped plains) are absolutely stunning at this resolution," New Horizons science team member John Spencer of the Southwest Research Institute said in a NASA release. "The new details revealed here, particularly the crumpled ridges in the rubbly material surrounding several of the mountains, reinforce our earlier impression that the mountains are huge ice blocks that have been jostled and tumbled and somehow transported to their present locations."

So far, Pluto has been full of surprises, including the suggestion that those ice mountains could also hide nuclear-powered cryovolcanoes. Then there are its weird snakeskin-like features and potentially blue skies.

Check out the video from NASA below, which scrolls through the sharpest views of Pluto's surface.