Pluto may not technically be a planet anymore (unless you’re in New Mexico at just the right time), but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the most beloved objects in our solar system; in fact, losing its planet status probably made Pluto even more lovable. Maybe that’s part of what makes this new Pluto flyover video from NASA so lovely.
To be clear, this isn’t actual video that was recorded in real-time; rather, it was compiled using New Horizons many photos of the dwarf planet and digital elevation models. “Why not just create actual video from New Horizons’ photos,” you might be asking. Combing photos and elevation data together gives us a much closer look at what the surface actually looks like.
The clip’s description lays out where the journey takes us:
“This dramatic Pluto flyover begins over the highlands to the southwest of the great 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 tour moves north past the rugged and fractured highlands of Voyager Terra and then turns southward over Pioneer Terra — which exhibits deep and wide pits — before concluding over the bladed terrain of Tartarus Dorsa in the far east of the encounter hemisphere.”
Watch the video above, and if you’re into that, you may as well check out these recent flyby photos of Jupiter, too.
Featured image: NASA