NASA's spectacular flyover video transports you to Pluto

NASA's spectacular flyover video transports you to Pluto

NASA's spectacular flyover video transports you to Pluto

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

Now, NASA scientists, using the New Horizons data and digital elevation models of Pluto and its largest moon Charon, have created flyover movies that reveal breath-taking new perspectives of the unusual features of the planet. NASA has unveiled a set of detailed, high-quality global maps of Pluto and Charon.

No human has ever done it, to date only one spacecraft has: New Horizons, two years ago this month. The zoomed camera shows the planet's icy plains and stunning mountain ranges, revealing its unbelievable bladed terrain in further details exhibiting deep and broad pits. It eventually concludes over Tartarus Dorsa. 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.

This would explain why the Tombaugh Regio aligns nearly exactly opposite from the dwarf planet's moon, Charon. The spacecraft also collected other data, which helped in understanding the mysterious worlds that exists on the outer frontier of our solar system.

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 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.

The dwarf planet Pluto is extremely cold and topographically dynamic, with water-ice mountains, moving glaciers of molecular nitrogen ice, and a massive moon. "Fortunately, now we know how to do that and what new instruments to bring to bear". It aims to pass an object labelled 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019.

The New Horizons probe remains on an extended mission into the Kuiper Belt, a distant region made up of icy celestial bodies, including dwarf planets like Pluto and comets.

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