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Your Moment of Pluto Zen

17 Sep 2015, 15:55 UTC
Your Moment of Pluto Zen
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Flying Over Pluto
Majestic Mountains and Frozen Plains on Pluto! Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)
Imagine if you were in an aircraft soaring over Pluto, and you had your high-res camera out, taking images. THIS is what you would see! Okay, so this image was taken just 15 minutes after its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015, by the New Horizons spacecraft. It’s from a distance of 18,000 kilometers (11,000 miles), so much higher than the normal altitudes most of our terrestrial airliners fly. In fact, if Pluto had a space station, I think THIS would be the view! It seems very peaceful and zen-like, yet at the same time, the existence of those mountains and frozen plains belies activity deep within the planet. What it is remains to be understood and explained by the mission scientists as they study the pipeline of data flooding in from the spacecraft over the next 15 months.
The image was taken looking back at the planet with the Sun in the background, and caught what looks for all the world like a sunset view of any mountain range here on Earth. However, the difference between Earth and Pluto is stark: those rugged, icy mountains ...

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