The National Aeronautics and Space Administration – NASA’s New Horizons mission – designed, built and operated by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland – is helping us understand our solar system like never before. It recently made the first reconnaissance of the dwarf planet Pluto and ventured deeper into the mysterious Kuiper Belt. The mission was launched in Jan 2006.

Pluto Global Color Map (image source: NASA)

NASA shows what it’s like to land on Pluto

New Horizons has ventured into horizons never seen before. The mission swung past Jupiter for a gravity boost in February 2007 and further traveled over 8 years until it conducted a 6-month-long reconnaissance flyby study of Pluto and its moons in 2015 summer. The mission, NASA says, has helped answer basic questions about the surface properties, geology, interior makeup and atmosphere on these celestial bodies. The spacecraft carries powerful telescopic cameras that could spot features smaller than a football field at a distance of nearly 12,500km from the surface of Pluto. The spacecraft has sent back hundreds of images of Pluto and its moons that show how dynamic and fascinating the surfaces of Pluto and its moons are. NASA has used these images to construct a video that shows what it’s like to land on the dwarf Planet.

Experience Pluto landing!

A video posted by NASA recently shows what it’s like to actually land on Pluto. Made from more than 100 images taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, the video offers a trip down onto the surface of Pluto. The video begins with a distant view of Pluto and its largest moon Charon and leads up to an exciting ride in for a landing on the shoreline of Pluto’s informally named Sputnik Planitia. Creating videos using hundreds of images is no trivial task – mission scientists actually interpolated some of the black and white frames to make the video rendering smooth and seamless. The scientists then draped low-resolution color from Ralph color camera aboard New Horizons to produce a video of what it would look like to descend from high altitude to the surface of Pluto.

In addition to the video, NASA also released Pluto Global Color Map. According to NASA, the new detailed global mosaic color map of Pluto is based on a series of three color filter images obtained by the Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera aboard New Horizons during the NASA spacecraft’s close flyby of Pluto in July 2015.

Watch this stunning video by NASA –


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