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Probe snaps pix of Pluto after nine-year voyage

New Horizons, the fastest spacecraft ever flown, made history yesterday as it shot past Pluto at more than 48,000kph taking pictures and collecting scientific data.

American space agency Nasa posted a stunning new image of Pluto on Instagram, taken by New Horizons from a distance of 766,000 kilometres.

It shows the dwarf planet's Mars-like reddish hue and the enigmatic heart-shaped feature on its surface, which has already become Pluto's calling card on the internet.

New Horizons has taken more than nine years to reach Pluto, carrying with it the ashes of the astronomer who discovered the remote, icy object in 1930, Clyde Tombaugh.