NASA scientists create spectacular flyover video of Pluto's moon Charon


NASA's New Horizons account tweeted the video on July 14, 2017, noting in a series of tweets that it's the two year anniversary of New Horizons historic flyby of Pluto. The only bummer is there's no audio - I'd recommend Elton John's "Rocket Man" or R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" if you want some soothing, appropriately themed background tunes.

NASA said the images are exaggerated "by a factor of two to three times" to emphasize topography and the surface colors have been enhanced to bring out detail.

The new maps have revealed their complex terrain.

"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", NASA officials wrote in a video description.

It next continues north over Voyager Terra, a region of rugged highlands, then dips south over an area known as Pioneer Terra that is dotted with deep, wide pits, before ending over the bladed or snakeskin terrain of Tartarus Dorsa in the east.

"The view moves north, passing over Dorothy Gale crater and the dark polar hood of Mordor Macula".

Both flyovers depict only the encounter hemispheres observed by New Horizons in high resolution. The data may be two years-old but it still offers scientists a multitude of treasures to discover.

"The complexity of the Pluto system - from its geology to its satellite system to its atmosphere - has been beyond our wildest imagination", said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo.

The probe captured the first-ever close-up pictures after coming within 7,800 miles (12,550km) of the dwarf planet back in July 2015, providing us Earthlings with a whole new perspective of the icy rock at the edge of our solar system.