In July 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent home the first close-up pictures of Pluto and its moons, possibly the only close-ups of these worlds some of us will ever see of these extremely distant worlds in the outer solar system. To celebrate the two-year anniversary of New Horizons’ flyover of the Pluto system, NASA has released these two awesome videos.
They’re made from actual New Horizons data, combined with digital elevation models of Pluto and its largest moon Charon. NASA said its scientists created these two flyover movies to offer spectacular new perspectives on the unusual terrain they found in the Pluto system – from a vantage point even closer than the spacecraft itself.
Here’s how NASA described the Pluto flyover video (above):
This 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 ...