NASA release new Pluto flyby video from New Horizons mission

NASA release new Pluto flyby video from New Horizons mission

NASA release new Pluto flyby video from New Horizons mission

Pluto, including a heart-shaped region on its surface, is pictured in this image from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, taken on July 13, 2015, when the spacecraft was 476,000 miles (768,000 kilometers) from the surface.

To celebrate the two-year anniversary of the $896m mission that saw a United States 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.

NASA also released new maps of Pluto and Charon, revealing their complex terrain.

Sputnick, the dark, cratered terrain of Cthulhu Macula, the rugged and fractured highlands of Voyager Terra, the pits of Pioneer Terra and the bladed terrain of Tartarus Dorsa all feature.

NASA's New Horizons account tweeted the video on July 14, 2017, noting in a series of tweets that it's the two year anniversary of New Horizons historic flyby of Pluto.

NASA releases new maps of Pluto Charon
NASA video shows Pluto's mountains and plains, and it's pretty amazing

The mountains and cliff features are exaggerated on both the videos, for viewers to better make out elements of Pluto and Charon, with surface colours "enhanced to bring out detail". After many decades being labeled the ninth planet in our Solar System, scientists reclassified Pluto about ten years ago, officially dubbing it a dwarf planet rather than a full-fledged one.

Based on information from the New Horizons spacecraft, this NASA image shows bright snowcap material covering mountains on Pluto, possibly composed of atmospheric methane that has condensed as frost at high elevations. NASA has unveiled a set of detailed, high-quality global maps of Pluto and Charon.

"The complexity of the Pluto system - from its geology to its satellite system to its atmosphere- has been beyond our wildest imagination", Alan Stern, an investigator for the New Horizons spacecraft, said in a statement.

NASA claims the video offers us "a new perspective" of the planet, given that the imagery allowed for a film that gets closer to the planet's surface than New Horizons ever did. It aims to pass an object labelled 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019.

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