Fly Over Pluto in the Red Planet's First-Ever, Dramatic Close Up
In July 2015, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft sent home the first close-up pictures of Pluto and its moons. Using New Horizons data and digital elevation models of Pluto and its largest moon Charon, mission scientists have now created this flyover video. It offers new perspectives of the many unusual features that were discovered - from a vantage point even closer than the spacecraft itself. This Pluto flyover begins over the highlands to the southwest of an expanse of nitrogen ice plain informally named 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. The flyover moves north past the rugged highlands of Voyager Terra and then south over Pioneer Terra - which exhibits deep and wide pits - and finishes in Tartarus Dorsa, in the far east of the encounter hemisphere.