Tags: nasa | pluto | color | images | land

NASA's Pluto Color Images, Video Show What It'd Be Like to Land There

A NASA video shows what it might be like to land on Pluto. (Video via NASA/YouTube)

By    |   Monday, 23 Jan 2017 03:50 PM

NASA has released new color images of Pluto’s surface, including a simulated video showing what it would be like to land on Pluto.

The images were culled from the 2015 flyby of Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft and were taken over about six weeks, according to Gizmodo. The cameras used had powerful telescopic lenses that could capture features the size of a football field.

Although the images taken were black and white, NASA used the images’ values to figure out the colors and added them into the video footage, Gizmodo reported. Some low-resolution color photos taken by New Horizon’s Ralph instrument also were used.

The video starts with a view of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, zooming in steadily until it shows a “landing” on a bright, ice-covered basin called Sputnik Planitia.

The main hues shown are red, brown and, copper. Red coloring in the southwestern hemisphere is thought to be caused by hydrocarbons called tholins that form in the Plutonian atmosphere.

When sunlight hits the tholins, they turn to vapor and drift toward the north pole, then reform into ice on the surface. This melting and freezing pattern probably forms the color bands seen in many images of Pluto, Gizmodo reported.

The New Horizons spacecraft is still in operation and will pass by a recently discovered, 30-mile wide object out beyond Pluto in 2019, according to the Daily Mail. The object, known as 2014 MU69, orbits nearly 1 billion miles beyond Pluto in the Kuiper Belt.

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NASA has released new color images of Pluto's surface, including a simulated video showing what it would be like to land on Pluto.
nasa, pluto, color, images, land
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2017-50-23
Monday, 23 Jan 2017 03:50 PM
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