Space

NASA's spectacular flyover video transports you to Pluto

NASA's spectacular flyover vid...
NASA just released a stunning flyover video of Pluto compiled from data gathered by the New Horizons probe in 2015
NASA just released a stunning flyover video of Pluto compiled from data gathered by the New Horizons probe in 2015
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Global mosaic maps of Pluto and Charon
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Global mosaic maps of Pluto and Charon
A still from NASA's Pluto flyover video
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A still from NASA's Pluto flyover video
NASA's spectacular flyover video of Pluto's moon, Charon
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NASA's spectacular flyover video of Pluto's moon, Charon
NASA just released a stunning flyover video of Pluto compiled from data gathered by the New Horizons probe in 2015
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NASA just released a stunning flyover video of Pluto compiled from data gathered by the New Horizons probe in 2015

Back in July 2015, NASA's New Horizons probe completed an historic flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto. Collecting over 50 gigabits of data during the encounter it took more than a year to transmit all the information back to Earth and scientists are still poring through it. The team has just released two spectacular flyover videos, of Pluto and its largest moon Charon, created from the New Horizons data offering us the most intimate look yet at our distant icy friends.

The first video takes us over Pluto, beginning at the Sputnik Planitia, an expanse of nitrogen ice bordering the ominously named terrain of Cthulhu Macula. The flyover shows us a fascinating variety of landscapes from the pits of Pioneer Terra to the sharply bladed contours of Tartarus Dorsa.

New Horizons Flyover of Pluto

The second flyover sends us to Pluto's largest moon Charon. This video offers a thrilling trip over the Serenity Chasma canyon, the Dorothy Gale crater before concluding at the "moated mountains" of Clarke Montes. We also get a look at a compellingly named Mordor Macula and the equatorial plains of Vulcan Planum.

New Horizons Flyover of Charon

As well as introducing the world to some fascinatingly named geographical formations (noted by NASA to be still informal), the flyover is an exciting way to experience what it would be like to float over these remote and mysterious worlds.

The digitally rendered videos are color enhanced to highlight certain details, and NASA note the topography is enhanced by a factor of two to three to emphasize the forms of the landscape.

The data from the New Horizons flyby is still being analyzed by NASA scientists and two incredibly detailed global maps have also just been released showing the complexity of the Pluto system. The data may be two years-old but it still offers scientists a multitude of treasures to discover.

Global mosaic maps of Pluto and Charon
Global mosaic maps of Pluto and Charon

"Everywhere we turn are new mysteries," says Alan Stern, the principle investigator for New Horizons. "These new maps from the landmark exploration of Pluto by NASA's New Horizons mission in 2015 will help unravel these mysteries and are for everyone to enjoy."

Source: NASA (1), (2)

5 comments
S Michael
Why waste our time and money on a dead planet? Maybe in a couple hundred years from now it might be of interest, but for now. Stick to more interesting places like our moon and Mars.
Tacky-on
It looks pretty much like Rick and Morty said it would. One of the best cautious digs at the endless global warming racket on TV by the way. Greedy corporatists are mining Pluto for plutonium, and that is why its shrinking from a planet to a celestial dwarf. Pluto clearly suffers from anthropogenic global shrinkage.
Lardo
"The digitally rendered videos are color enhanced to highlight certain details, and NASA note the topography is enhanced by a factor of two to three to emphasize the forms of the landscape." In other words, what we're seeing isn't real.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
There will be a nitrogen rush on Pluto in a couple of hundred years for the terra forming of Mars.
Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret
You want to see the greenhouse effect in action? Go to Venus. The opposite is true for Mars, where the atmosphere is thin. Earth is somewhere between Mars and Venus in terms of this effect.