There’s probably nothing much more exciting for a space artist than to have an entirely new world to play with! I’ve been busy ever since the New Horizons flyby creating new landscapes of Pluto based on the data that has been arriving-ever so slowly—-from the distant spacecraft. It seems that every square inch of each image that’s arrived from Pluto so far has contained material for half a dozen paintings! I thought I’d share some of my first efforts with io9 readers...with lots more to come, I am sure!

One of the first is the scene depicted in the header, set in the ice plains of Tombaugh Regio, perhaps somewhere in that vast, flat area that fills most of this photo.

This is one of the most evocative of all the photos taken so far by New Horizons. It shows glaciers of nitrogen ice flowing sinuously around objects (best seen in the upper left), as well as polygonal patterns in the icy plains of Tombaugh Regio. The whole idea of nitrogen ice glaciers is plenty enough to conjure with!

A tiny crater intrigued me. It appears to have a dark rim with a dark central peak protruding through an ice-filled floor. At least that’s how I interpreted it.

Other craters seem to be filled to the brim with ice., such as the one just to the left of center.

Pluto’s mountains seem to be amazingly rugged...

...so until I hear otherwise I decided to give them the full Chesley Bonestell treatment. Here is a view of dawn in the Hillary Montes along with a scene set in the foothills...

By the way, I’m often asked about the illumination in my pictures of Pluto. Sure, it’s forty times further away from the sun than the earth is, but the light on the surface of the planet is still 400 times greater than that of a full moon back here on earth.

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Charon certainly has its share of interesting features, not the least of which is a giant canyon wrapping halfway around the satellite that is up to 6 miles deep...