It’s time to get up close and personal with Pluto’s dark, rugged highlands – informally named Krun Macula. (Krun is the lord of the underworld in the Mandaean religion, and a ‘macula’ is a dark feature on a planetary surface.).
This enhanced color view from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zooms in on the southeastern portion of Pluto’s great ice plains. Krun Macula rises 1.5 miles above Pluto’s icy surface, and the craters that decorate it typically reach between 5 and 8 miles across!
The amazing image below was crafted using three separate observations made by New Horizons as it flew by Pluto in July 2015. It represents pieces of the highest and second-highest resolution observations gathered by the spacecraft.
Why does Pluto have that dark rust color? According to NASA, Pluto is believed to get its deep red color from tholins, complex molecules found across much of the surface.