This is the first color photograph of Pluto and Charon’s satellite, taken by NASA’s New Horizons mission, which is currently moving toward the Kuiper belt, providing us with information about this remote region.
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft rushes toward Pluto and is expected to travel just 7750 miles (12,500 km) from the surface of a dwarf planet. Gradually we get more and more clear photographs of the dwarf planet and its satellite system.
This image was taken on April 9 using the New Horizon thermal imager called “Ralph” at a distance of 71 million miles (115 million kilometers). At such a distance it is impossible to determine any features of the surface. "This is intelligence! We are going to turn the point of light into a planet and a satellite system before your eyes," said Alan Stern, principal researcher at New Horizons from the Southwestern Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "New Horizons flies to Pluto - the largest, brightest and most complex of the dwarf planets in the Kuiper belt. This meeting in the 21st century will be key moments starting with the legendary Voyager mission in the 1980s."
The Hubble Space Telescope assists the mission by discovering new and mysterious Kuiper Belt objects located beyond the orbit of Pluto, which the spacecraft can visit after the historic mission.