In July 2015, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft sent home the first close-up pictures of Pluto and its moons - unbelievable imagery that inspired many to wonder what a flight over the distant worlds' icy terrain might be like. The only bummer is there's no audio - I'd recommend Elton John's "Rocket Man" or R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" if you want some soothing, appropriately themed background tunes. It released two videos, one of Pluto itself and a second of Pluto's largest moon, Charon. In both of them, topographic relief has been exaggerated by two to three times, and surface colors have been enhanced, to highlight topography and detail, NASA officials said.
The video starts just southwest of Sputnik Planitia - the huge plains of nitrogen ice that form part of Pluto's signature giant heart. The latest video comes after the New Horizons mission brought back the images of the planet after its launch two years ago.
To celebrate the two-year anniversary of the $896m mission that saw a U.S. spacecraft fly within 12,550 kilometres of dwarf planet, NASA and the New Horizons team have used images and data sent back to Earth to create a new, highly detailed animation of Pluto's surface. The zoomed camera shows the planet's icy plains and stunning mountain ranges, revealing its unbelievable bladed terrain in further details exhibiting deep and broad pits.
The new maps have revealed their complex terrain.
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In the description of the video, NASA officials wrote, "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". It moves north to Voyager Terra, which are rugged highlands, and then sweeps over the pits and craters of Pioneer Terra.
Pluto was long considered to be the ninth planet in the solar system.
The scientists are still analysing and uncovering data that New Horizons recorded and sent home after the encounter.
The probe is due to complete a flyby of a small celestial object called 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019.