W. M. Grundy , R. P. Binzel , B. J. Buratti , J. C. Cook , D. P. Cruikshank , C. M. Dalle Ore , A. M. Earle , K. Ennico , C. J. A. Howett , A. W. Lunsford , C. B. Olkin , A. H. Parker , S. Philippe , S. Protopapa , E. Quirico , D. C. Reuter , B. Schmitt , K. N. Singer , A. J. Verbiscer , R. A. Beyer , M. W. Buie , A. F. Cheng , D. E. Jennings , I. R. Linscott , J. Wm. Parker , P. M. Schenk , J. R. Spencer , J. A. Stansberry , S. A. Stern , H. B. Throop , C. C. C. Tsang , H. A. Weaver , G. E. Weigle II , L. A. Young , the New Horizons Science Team
18 April 2016
The New Horizons spacecraft mapped colors and infrared spectra across the encounter hemispheres of Pluto and Charon. The volatile ices CH\(_4\), CO, and N\(_2\), that dominate Pluto's surface, have complicated spatial distributions resulting from sublimation, condensation, and glacial flow acting over seasonal and geological timescales. Pluto's H\(_2\)O ice "bedrock" is also mapped, with isolated outcrops occurring in a variety of settings. Pluto's surface exhibits complex regional color diversity associated with its distinct provinces. Charon's color pattern is simpler, dominated by neutral low latitudes and a reddish northern polar region. Charon near infrared spectra reveal highly localized areas with strong NH\(_3\) absorption tied to small craters with relatively fresh-appearing impact ejecta.