NASA Shows What Landing on Pluto Would Look Like
Although we may not reach it in our lifetimes, NASA now knows what it would look like to land on the surface of Pluto.
The organization released a video last week depicting a landing on the solar system’s smallest (former) planet.
The video was made using more than 100 images captured from the New Horizons spacecraft’s journey past Pluto over six weeks in Summer 2015.
Starting with a distant view of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, the video descends onto the shoreline of Pluto’s ice-covered plain, Sputnik Planitia.
Images for the video were taken by the spacecraft’s advanced Ralph camera, which comes equipped seven different “imagers.” The video was made using a combination of different cameras and coloring techniques (the original black-and-white version can be seen on NASA’s website).
Thanks to the spacecraft, scientists now have a global map of Pluto and its previously-uncharted icy landscape.
New Horizons flew over 3 billion miles over the course of nine years to become the first spacecraft to reach Pluto, but its mission is not yet complete.
The spacecraft will soon explore the Kuiper Belt, which lies 1 billion miles beyond Pluto. It is expected to reach its destination on Jan. 1, 2019.