Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

NASA releases New Horizons flyover video

NASA releases New Horizons flyover video

It's been two years since NASA's New Horizons spacecraft got up close and personal with dwarf planet Pluto.

In July 2015, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft sent home the first close-up pictures of Pluto and its moons - incredible imagery that inspired many to wonder what a flight over the distant worlds' icy terrain might be like.

NASA has released a startling flyover video during their annual celebrations of Pluto probe.

The Pluto flyover begins at highlands near a nitrogen ice plain informally named Sputnik Planitia, passes a pock-marked landscape bordered by alien mountain ranges and ends over the Tartarus Dorsa's "bladed terrain".

The New Horizons spacecraft collected more than 1,200 images of Pluto and tens of gigabits of data during its mission which NASA says its scientists are still analyzing.

The topography on both videos are exaggerated by a factor of two to three to help emphasize the surface details.

The Charon video starts shows a deep canyon called Serenity Chasma, moves north over Dorothy Gale crater, dark polar hood of Mordor Macula, south showing part of Oz Terra and finishing up on the relatively flat equatorial plains of Vulcan Planum and "moated mountains" of Clarke Montes.

The new images reveal that Pluto has several layers to its global atmospheric haze, which according to Nasa, "creates a twilight effect that softly illuminates nightside terrain near sunset".

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

"I think the most surprising thing [to come out of New Horizons] is how complex that little planet is", the mission's principal investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Institute in Colorado, told Space.com on the flyby's two-year anniversary.

The epic Pluto flyby captured the new and completely fantastic horizon.

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