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NASA’s New Horizons Probe Gives Us Our First Look at the ‘Person in Pluto’

Image: Pluto and Charon
A combination of imagery from the LORRI and MVIC imagers on NASA's New Horizons probe provides a colorized view of Pluto (top) and its largest moon, Charon (bottom). NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI / Ian Regan

Humanity has looked up to the "Man in the Moon" for millennia, but this could be one of our first views of the "Person in Pluto."

The views are getting better and better as NASA's New Horizons spacecraft approaches Pluto for its July 14 flyby — and the pictures have begun revealing surface details. Ian Regan, an image-processing enthusiast from Plymouth, England, combined four images from New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager with color data from the probe's Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera to produce an eerie colorized view of Pluto and its biggest moon, Charon.

How New Horizons Is Studying Pluto 1:42

Related: Pluto Pictures Put New Face on Dwarf Planet

The picture's orientation makes Pluto look as if it's a big-headed alien skull from a "Star Trek" episode, with two cratered eyes looking out toward the camera. It's a subtle effect, reminiscent of the Viking 1 orbiter's eerie "Face on Mars" image from 1976. Like that image of Mars' Cydonia region, a closer view can easily spoil the effect — so enjoy the Person in Pluto while you can.

To keep tabs on the New Horizons mission, follow @IanARegan on Twitter, check in on the New Horizons mission's website and NASA portal page, browse through a plenitude of Pluto pictures on UnmannedSpaceflight.com — and become a fan of DailyPluto.com on Facebook.