New Horizons Unveils New Maps and Movies of Pluto and Charon
On July 14, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made its historic flight through the Pluto system and sent home the first close-up pictures of Pluto and its moons – amazing imagery that inspired many to wonder what a flight over the distant worlds’ icy terrain might be like.
Wonder no more. 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. Digital mapping and rendering of the movies were performed by Senior Staff Scientist Paul Schenk and Creative Producer John Blackwell of the Lunar and Planetary Institute.
Scientists are still analyzing and uncovering data that New Horizons recorded and sent home after the encounter. On the two-year anniversary of the flyby, the team is also unveiling a set of detailed, high-quality global maps of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon.
“The complexity of the Pluto system — from its geology to its satellite system to its atmosphere— has been beyond our wildest imagination,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “Everywhere we turn are new mysteries. These new maps from the landmark exploration of Pluto by NASA’s New Horizons mission in 2015 will help unravel these mysteries and are for everyone to enjoy.”
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