NASA Successfully Completes Probe On Pluto

Posted July 18, 2017

The two-minute video combines New Horizons data with digital models of Pluto's elevations and turns them into a visual experience that makes you feel like you're zipping along with the intrepid spacecraft.

To celebrate the milestone, and to take advantage of the data and photos NASA collected along the way, the agency released a new video on Friday showing Earth-bound viewers what it would be like to fly past Pluto's surface.

NASA has revealed a video of its New Horizons mission to Pluto, composed of the myriad of images secured during its 2015 flyby.

New Horizons originally launched in January 2006, and after brief flybys of an asteroid and the gas giant Jupiter, it entered hibernation until arriving at the Pluto system in December 2014.

"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. Visible to the right are blocky mountain ranges inside the plains.

This provided the first close-up images of Pluto and its moon and collecting other data that has transformed our understanding of these mysterious worlds on the solar system's outer frontier. It eventually concludes over Tartarus Dorsa.

Lasting slightly over one minute, the Charon flyover video begins with a distant view, then comes closer, sweeping over Serenity Chasma, a deep, wide canyon. 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.

NASA's New Horizons mission has been instrumental in building knowledge about Pluto.

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

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.