Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

New Horizons Flyover of Pluto

New Horizons Flyover of Pluto

It's been two years since NASA's New Horizons spacecraft got up close and personal with dwarf planet Pluto.

The video starts just southwest of Sputnik Planitia - the huge plains of nitrogen ice that form part of Pluto's signature giant heart.

NASA has revealed a video of its New Horizons mission to Pluto, composed of the myriad of images secured during its 2015 flyby.

Lasting slightly over one minute, the Charon flyover video begins with a distant view, then comes closer, sweeping over Serenity Chasma, a deep, wide canyon.

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Members of the New Horizons mission team put together the animation using data collected by the spacecraft, as well as elevation models of Pluto's surface.

Formed in 1958, NASA is one of the preeminent space agencies now in operation, is the only organization to land astronauts on the surface of the Moon, to carry out extended missions on the planet Mars and more.

As a result, viewers are offered new, stunning perspectives of Pluto and Charon depicting unusual features discovered in New Horizons images over the past two years.

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.

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Most notably, the scientific community and the general public fell in love with Pluto's enormous heart-shaped icy plain, informally known as Tombaugh Regio, after Pluto's discoverer.

The flyby by New Horizons - which is now approaching the edge of the galaxy - also revealed that the dwarf planet is slightly larger than scientists originally thought.

New Horizons has moved on from Pluto and is now flying deeper into the Kuiper Belt, a vast area filled with icy bodies out beyond Neptune's orbit.

The probe is due to complete a flyby of a small celestial object called 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019.

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