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NASA release new Pluto flyby video from New Horizons mission
17 July 2017, 04:53 | Ross Houston
Science Image Source Kevin M. Gill
A flight over Pluto shows the highlands and the planet's nitrogen icy plain, Sputnik Planitia. After many decades being labeled the ninth planet in our Solar System, scientists reclassified Pluto about ten years ago, officially dubbing it a dwarf planet rather than a full-fledged one.
NASA'sNew Horizons is a space probe that was launched in January 2006 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
First, New Horizons made an encounter with Jupiter on 2007.
The New Horizons probe remains on an extended mission into the Kuiper Belt, a distant region made up of icy celestial bodies, including dwarf planets like Pluto and comets. Then it continues to the Pioneer Terra and the bladed terrain of Tartarus Dorsa which are at the eastern area of the hemisphere.
The Charon video starts shows a deep canyon called Serenity Chasma, moves north over Dorothy Gale crater, dark polar hood of Mordor Macula, south showing part of Oz Terra and finishing up on the relatively flat equatorial plains of Vulcan Planum and "moated mountains" of Clarke Montes. The 2015 flyby collected more than 1,200 images-including a striking image of a heart-shaped formation on the dwarf planet's surface-and 10 gigabits of data.
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The spacecraft is now 5.7 billion kilometres from Earth and reaching the mysterious Kuiper Belt to reach its next target.
"Using actual New Horizons data and digital elevation models of Pluto and its largest moon Charon, mission scientists have created 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", the video description states.
The second flyover sends us to Pluto's largest moon Charon. The agency published maps of both the planet and the moon. Transparent, colorized stereo topography data generated for the encounter hemispheres of Pluto and Charon have been overlain on the mosaics.
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 Probe went deeper into the Kuiper Belt, a huge area containing "objects", a lot of them are rocky and are completely frozen.
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