NASA release new Pluto flyby video from New Horizons mission
00:10, Jul 18, 2017
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It was two years ago, on July 14th, 2015, that NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto - marking the first time we had ever explored this mysterious small world.
Pluto, including a heart-shaped region on its surface, is pictured in this image from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, taken on July 13, 2015, when the spacecraft was 476,000 miles (768,000 kilometers) from the surface. All the names of Pluto and Charon are informal and pull from science fiction and fantasy sources like "Star Trek" and "Lord of the Rings".
The Pluto flyover starts in the darkened highlands southwest of an expanse of nitrogen ice plain called Sputnik Planitia. Visible to the right are blocky mountain ranges inside the plains.
NASA video shows Pluto's mountains and plains, and it's pretty amazing
"The tour moves north past the rugged and fractured highlands of Voyager Terra and then turns southward over Pioneer Terra - which exhibits deep and wide pits - before concluding over the bladed terrain of Tartarus Dorsa in the far east of the encounter hemisphere", NASA said.
"The exciting flight over Charon begins high over the hemisphere New Horizons saw on its closest approach, then descends over the deep, wide canyon of Serenity Chasma".
If you enjoy the Pluto video, NASA also made another one showing a flyover of Charon, Pluto's largest moon.
The newly-released NASA video, based on data from the New Horizons spacecraft and digital elevation models of Pluto, offers incredible insight into what it would be like to zoom over the dwarf planet. To celebrate the anniversary, scientists released detailed maps of both Pluto and Charon.
Among other things, New Horizons took pictures of Pluto's mountains and plains, capturing the dwarf planet's "heart", which according to Nasa, is "about the same distance as from Denver to Chicago".
"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.
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