These are the best Pluto photos yet

Ready for the close up?

Pluto highest res NASA

NASA has released the best pictures of Pluto sent by New Horizons so far, or rather, the highest resolution images ever taken of the dwarf planet.

It's the first of a series of lossless, or uncompressed, images being sent by New Horizons, with this first image taken about 15 minutes before New Horizon's closest approach to Pluto on July 14, according to NASA.

Images we've seen so far of Pluto over the last few months have all been sent back compressed, until now.

This new image showcases a strip 50 miles (80 kilometers) wide on Pluto from about 10,000 miles (17,000 kilometers) above the surface of the dwarf planet.

"These new images give us a breathtaking, super-high resolution window into Pluto's geology," said New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern.

"Nothing of this quality was available for Venus or Mars until decades after their first flybys; yet at Pluto we're there already – down among the craters, mountains and ice fields – less than five months after flyby!"

The images each have resolutions of about 250-280 feet (77-85 meters) per pixel, "revealing features smaller than half a city block on Pluto's diverse surface, according to NASA.

There are still many more images yet to be sent back to Earth at this resolution quality, all the while New Horizons continues traveling toward the Kuiper Belt.

In the meantime, you can check out this clip put together by NASA using the high resolution views of Pluto.

Image credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

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