PHOTOS: New Horizons Photos of Diverse Landforms on Pluto Bewilder Scientists

New close-up photos of Pluto downlinked from NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft reveal stunning landforms that have left scientists mystified.

"They reveal new features as diverse as possible dunes, nitrogen ice flows that apparently oozed out of mountainous regions onto plains and even networks of valleys that may have been carved by material flowing over Pluto's surface," a NASA press release said.

"They also show large regions that display chaotically jumbled mountains reminiscent of disrupted terrains on Jupiter's icy moon Europa."

The surface of Pluto is now thought to be as complex as Mars and is, in some ways, dramatically different from what scientists were expecting.

"Pluto is showing us a diversity of landforms and complexity of processes that rival anything we've seen in the solar system," New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern said.

"If an artist had painted this Pluto before our flyby, I probably would have called it over the top - but that's what is actually there."

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