Published: Tue, July 18, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

NASA releases New Horizons flyover video

NASA releases New Horizons flyover video

The flyover shows the cratered terrain of Cthulhu Macula, with the blocky mountain ranges located within the plains seen on the right.

To celebrate the two-year anniversary of the $896m mission that saw a U.S. spacecraft fly within 12,550 kilometres of dwarf planet, NASA and the New Horizons team have used images and data sent back to Earth to create a new, highly detailed animation of Pluto's surface.

Now, using actual New Horizons data and digital elevation models, mission scientists have created flyover movies of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon.

On the two-year anniversary of the flyby, the team of scientists is uncovering a set of detailed, high-quality global maps of Pluto and Charon. The zoomed camera shows the planet's icy plains and stunning mountain ranges, revealing its incredible bladed terrain in further details exhibiting deep and broad pits.

In July 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft took the first close observations of Pluto and Charon, which later became these maps.

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It next continues north over Voyager Terra, a region of rugged highlands, then dips south over an area known as Pioneer Terra that is dotted with deep, wide pits, before ending over the bladed or snakeskin terrain of Tartarus Dorsa in the east. This video offers a thrilling trip over the Serenity Chasma canyon, the Dorothy Gale crater before concluding at the "moated mountains" of Clarke Montes.

They have a resolution of 985 feet (300 meters) per pixel and include data uncovered by scientists since the encounter.

"Everywhere we turn are new mysteries", says Alan Stern, the principle investigator for New Horizons.

The view itself is pretty spectacular, but it also gives us a newer, more unique perspective on Pluto's terrain. "These new maps. will help unravel these mysteries". Now that it has accomplished that part of its mission, it is currently en route to analyze a Kuiper Belt object, 2014 MU69, and is expected to arrive at its next destination on January 1, 2019.

If you enjoy the Pluto video, NASA also made another one showing a flyover of Charon, Pluto's largest moon.

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