Nasa scientists who waited nearly nine years to get a close-up of Pluto have been rewarded; the closest image of the dwarf planet has been revealed to sport a big heart-shaped area.

The image was taken by Nasa's New Horizons spacecraft on 7 July at 5 million miles from Pluto.

Scientists remain confused about what the heart-shaped area spread across 1,200 miles over Pluto represents.

The spacecraft will reportedly get a closer peek of the dwarf planet next week when scientists are hoping to get a clearer view of the heart, reported The Telegraph.

Jeff Moore, Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team leader of Nasa's Ames Research Center said: "The next time we see this part of Pluto at closest approach, a portion of this region will be imaged at about 500 times better resolution than we see today.

"It will be incredible."

The New Horizons spacecraft first set off in 2006 when Pluto was still a planet.

The Nasa mission is also set to reveal other mysteries surrounding the Sun as well as the origins of life on Earth.

Meanwhile, a Google Earth map of Pluto has also been created using images of the dwarf planet taken with the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and the Ralph instrument on New Horizons.

"We're at the 'man in the moon' stage of viewing Pluto," said John Spencer, deputy leader of the Geology, Geophysics and Imaging team for New Horizons. "It's easy to imagine you're seeing familiar shapes in this bizarre collection of light and dark features. However, it's too early to know what these features really are."