New NASA video shows Pluto as you've never seen it before

Terry Joseph
July 18, 2017

The team behind the mission was "blown away by the incredible diversity of terrain on Pluto and just generally, the collection of phenomena we've observed throughout the Pluto system", project scientist Hal Weaver told CBS News a year ago.

Nasa has just released a number of stunning photos and videos of Pluto and its largest moon Charon, taken by the New Horizons probe during its historic flyby in 2015.

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".

The first video begins from the Sputnik Planitia, an expanse of nitrogen ice plain.

As the tour moves north, the rugged and fractured highlands of Voyager Terra can be seen before we head over Pioneer Terra and the bladed terrain of Tartarus Dorsa, in the far east of the encounter hemisphere.

The second flyover video shows Pluto's largest moon Charon. 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.

Pluto Blue Skies

Friday marked the two-year anniversary of New Horizons' fly-by of Pluto and its 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.

That mission helped fill in one or two of the gaps in humanity's knowledge of our solar system, with imagery of the no-long-ninth planet capturing the zeitgeist for a few summer weeks.

"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.

The view itself is pretty spectacular, but it also gives us a newer, more unique perspective on Pluto's terrain.

The spacecraft will on January 1, 2019 will get closer to a Kuiper Belt object known as 2014 MU69, NASA said.

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