New Horizons is a NASA probe launched nine years ago with the express purpose of flying around Pluto and taking pictures. Earlier this month, New Horizons sent back some of its first photos. NASA thinks the presence of light spots on these images indicate that the planet has polar caps:
Yeah, it’s not terribly overwhelming in detail. That’s because the probe is still too far from the planet to provide high resolution photos. The little dot is one of Pluto’s moons, Charon. So far, it’s too dark to see any of Pluto’s other moons.
NASA isn’t sure if the polar caps are ice or frozen gas. New Horizons will be closest to the dwarf planet on July 14, and it will hopefully send back more detailed images. It’s taken $650 million and 3 billion miles for a good look at Pluto, which so far appears to have a very complex surface.