NASA Successfully Completes Probe On Pluto

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From the outer fringes of the solar system, tiny Pluto looms large in a newly released NASA video that reveals astonishing detail from the dwarf planet.

The two-minute video combines New Horizons data with digital models of Pluto's elevations and turns them into a visual experience that makes you feel like you're zipping along with the intrepid spacecraft. NASA has unveiled a set of detailed, high-quality global maps of Pluto and Charon. All the names of Pluto and Charon are informal and pull from science fiction and fantasy sources like "Star Trek" and "Lord of the Rings".

Pluto, including a heart-shaped region on its surface, is pictured in this image from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, taken on July 13, 2015, when the spacecraft was 476,000 miles (768,000 kilometers) from the surface. No human has ever done it, to date only one spacecraft has: New Horizons, two years ago this month.

A flight over Pluto shows the highlands and the planet's nitrogen icy plain, Sputnik Planitia. 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.

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If you'd rather just stay toasty on Earth, NASA has released a fascinating flyover of the dwarf planet's terrain.

The mosaic shows how Pluto's large-scale color patterns extend beyond the hemisphere facing New Horizons at closest approach, which were imaged at the highest resolution. It moves north to Voyager Terra, which are rugged highlands, and then sweeps over the pits and craters of Pioneer Terra.

"The flight then turns south, covering the northern terrain of Oz Terra before ending over the relatively flat equatorial plains of Vulcan Planum and the "moated mountains" of Clarke Montes".

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