This image of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, was taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on April 9 and downlinked to Earth the following day.
It is the first color image ever made of the Pluto system by a spacecraft on approach.
Clearly visible are both Pluto and the Texas-sized Charon. The image was made from a distance of about 71 million miles (115 million kilometers)—roughly the distance from the Sun to Venus. At this distance, neither Pluto nor Charon is well resolved by the color imager, but their distinctly different appearances can be seen.
On July 14, 2015, at 11:49 UTC, New Horizons flew 12,500 km (7,800 mi) above the surface of Pluto, making it the first spacecraft to explore the dwarf planet. On October 25, 2016, at 21:48 UTC, the last of the recorded data from the Pluto flyby was received from the spacecraft. Having completed its flyby of Pluto, New Horizons has maneuvered for a flyby of Kuiper belt object expected to take place on January 1, 2019.