New Delhi: NASA's New Horizons spacecraft that is currently administering a probe on Pluto is forever at work, covering the icy cold parameters of the dwarf planet.
It is all courtesy New Horizons, that NASA is able to give us all the latest updates on Pluto – its structure, the behaviour of its complex atmosphere and its evolution.
Be it icy volcanoes that adorn the planet or the activities of its five moons, New Horizons bears testimony to the fact that the dwarf planet is loaded with surprises.
In July 2015, NASA received the first close-up pictures of Pluto and its moons captured by New Horizons – amazing imagery that inspired many to wonder what a flight over the distant worlds’ icy terrain might be like.
Now, the space agency has a special treat for space enthusiasts. Mission scientists have used actual New Horizons data and digital elevation models of Pluto and its largest moon Charon to create flyover movies that offer spectacular new perspectives of the many unusual features that were discovered and which have reshaped our views of the Pluto system – from a vantage point even closer than the spacecraft itself.
According to NASA, this dramatic Pluto flyover begins over the highlands to the southwest of the great expanse of nitrogen ice plain informally named Sputnik Planitia. The viewer first passes over the western margin of Sputnik, where it borders the dark, cratered terrain of Cthulhu Macula, with the blocky mountain ranges located within the plains seen on the right. 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.
The equally 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. The view moves north, passing over Dorothy Gale crater and the dark polar hood of Mordor Macula. The flight then turns south, covering the northern terrain of Oz Terra before ending over the relatively flat equatorial plains of Vulcan Planum and the “moated mountains” of Clarke Montes.
The topographic relief is exaggerated by a factor of two to three times in these movies to emphasize topography; the surface colors of Pluto and Charon also have been enhanced to bring out detail, NASA reported.
Watch the videos below:
(Video courtesy: NASA.gov Video)