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Flying Over Charon

Images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft were used to create this flyover video of Pluto’s largest moon, Charon. The “flight” starts with the informally named Mordor (dark) region near Charon’s north pole. The camera then moves south to a vast chasm, descending from 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) to just 40 miles (60 kilometers) above the surface to fly through the canyon system. From there it’s a turn to the south to view the plains and “moat mountain,” informally named Kubrick Mons, a prominent peak surrounded by a topographic depression.

New Horizons Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) photographs showing details at up to 400 meters per pixel were used to create the basemap for this animation. Those images, along with pictures taken from a slightly different vantage point by the spacecraft’s Ralph/ Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC), were used to create a preliminary digital terrain (elevation) model. The images and model were combined and super-sampled to create this animation.

This week’s best images of Pluto and its moons Hydra and Nix

NASA released another round of amazing Pluto images this week taken by the New Horizons spacecraft. We now have closeups of Pluto’s smaller moons Nix and Hydra, as well as the best high-resolution images of Pluto we’re going to get from this mission. We also know more about the dwarf planet’s icy heart, as well as a second mountain range on the edge of one of its dark equatorial regions.

Seeing Pluto in a New Light – News Conference 

NASA officials and team members of the New Horizons mission to Pluto participate in a news conference featuring release of close-up images of Pluto’s surface and moons, and initial reactions from the New Horizons science team.

Pluto and Beyond – The Story of Pluto – Documentary

The Year of Pluto – 2015

New Horizons is the first mission to the Kuiper Belt, a gigantic zone of icy bodies and mysterious small objects orbiting beyond Neptune. This region also is known as the “third” zone of our solar system, beyond the inner rocky planets and outer gas giants. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Maryland, designed, built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Year of Pluto – NASA New Horizons is a one hour documentary which takes on the hard science and gives us answers to how the mission came about and why it matters. Interviews with Dr. James Green, John Spencer, Fran Bagenal, Mark Showalter and others share how New Horizons will answer many questions. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.