Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

Buzz Pluto's mountains in this gorgeous NASA video

Science								Image Source Kevin M. Gill Science Image Source Kevin M. Gill
Garry Little | 18 July, 2017, 00:13

The scientists used the actual New Horizon data and the new advanced elevation models of Pluto planet together with its biggest moon, Charon, to produce stunning movies that gives spectacular new outlook of many odd features that were discovery earlier. It was the first time scientists were able to get up-close photos of Pluto, and collect data.

Two years after NASA's New Horizons spacecraft sent the first images of Pluto, NASA has created two flyby videos by compiling data received from the mission. North is up; Pluto's equator roughly bisects the band of dark red terrains running across the lower third of the map.

"This dramatic Pluto flyover begins over the highlands to the south-west of the great expanse of nitrogen ice plain informally named Sputnik Planitia", said NASA. It eventually concludes over Tartarus Dorsa. Then the view shifts to the north, passing over Dorothy Gale crater and Mordor Macula, the icy region at Charon's north pole, before turning south to Oz Terra, Vulcan Planum and Clarke Montes.

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.

Now, the American space agency has released a never-before-seen animation to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the flyby.

"The complexity of the Pluto system - from its geology to its satellite system to its atmosphere - has been beyond our wildest imagination", Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, said in a statement. "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".

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. It aims to pass an object labelled 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019.

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