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17 July 2017, 04:53 | Justin Tyler
NASA video shows Pluto's mountains and plains, and it's pretty amazing
The video, posted on Twitter, shows mountain ranges, craters and icy caverns scattered around the planet's surface.
New Horizons' view of Pluto, as seen in a new NASA video released on July 14, 2017, the second anniversary of the probe's epic flyby of the dwarf planet.
Thanks to the New Horizon probe, stunning pictures of this distant icy planet are available. Visible to the right are blocky mountain ranges inside the plains.
To celebrate the milestone, and to take advantage of the data and photos NASA collected along the way, the agency released a new video on Friday showing Earth-bound viewers what it would be like to fly past Pluto's surface. After it left Jupiter behind, it was in hibernation to protect the onboard system; but on December 2014, it was reactivated just before it met Pluto. The $700 million mission, which launched in 2006, conducted the first-ever flyby of the dwarf planet in 2015. While MU69 itself eluded direct detection, the June 3 data provided valuable and unexpected insights that have already helped New Horizons. Now, that NASA has received, analyzed and organized all these data it has published a stunning video with incredible close-up pictures of this rocky planet that is really far away from Earth.
Want to know what Pluto's terrain looks like? The video also includes digital elevation models of the dwarf planet. As well. Some incredibly high mountains can be seen on the right.
The video then moves towards the northern part passing through "rugged and fractured highlands of Voyager Terra".
It might not be a planet anymore, but Pluto is still a pretty interesting place.
The spacecraft is now 5.7 billion kilometres from Earth and reaching the mysterious Kuiper Belt to reach its next target.
Pluto has five known moons: Charon (the largest, with a diameter just over half that of Pluto), Pluto and Charon are sometimes considered a binary system because the barycenter of their orbits does not lie within either body.
The scientists used the actual New Horizon data and the new advanced elevation models of Pluto planet together with its biggest moon, Charon, to produce stunning movies that gives spectacular new outlook of many odd features that were discovery earlier. Transparent, colorized stereo topography data generated for the encounter hemispheres of Pluto and Charon have been overlain on the mosaics. The novel images of Pluto revealed much about its surface and even concluded that it was slightly larger than previously thought. However, its work in space isn't over yet.
Combined, the pre-positioned mobile telescopes captured more than 100,000 images of the occultation star that can be used to assess the environment around this Kuiper Belt object (KBO).
According to New Horizons data released late previous year, "Pluto's Heart" may hold an exciting huge ocean of slushy water ice.
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