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NASA Released the Longest Detailed Photo of Pluto You Shouldn't Miss

May 31, 2016 02:54 AM EDT
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Pluto Gets Its Closeup As 'Horizons' Images Arrive On Earth
The New Horizons managed to get photographs covering the whole surface of Pluto which was facing the spacecraft during its flyby. In a recent stitching and rendering of the photographs into a mosaic, the most detailed and possibly the clearest photo of Pluto was revealed. This will help scientist study the terrains and other shapes and forms found on Pluto's surface.
(Photo : NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI via Getty Images)

The New Horizons mission by NASA, which was launched in 2006, aims to reach and study the edge of the solar system and the celestial bodies farthest away from the Earth, including, Pluto.

In 2015, the closest flyby of the spacecraft to Pluto occurred. During that period, a heavy amount of information were gathered and scientists are still studying them until today. To note, the data from Pluto still doesn't fail to perplex scientists because of the seemingly endless information it brings. A recent rendering of a photograph of Pluto's surface is considered the longest and most detailed image of the Pluto; the strip's width is from 55 miles and about 45 miles from its northern end.

The photos were stitched together to show the whole side of Pluto's hemisphere facing the New Horizons spacecraft during the flyby. It explains the length of the photograph extending across the surface. This photograph of Pluto is considered to possess the highest resolution ever taken of the former planet with 260 feet (80 meters) per pixel, providing the best and clearest detail of the surface for scientists to study and enthusiasts to marvel at.

The said photograph is highly recognized because some experts believe that this could be the best image of Pluto mankind will ever see in this lifetime, according to a report by TechTimes.

Because of the details, scientists can analyze and determine the processes that helped form and shape the various formations visible on the surface of Pluto.

"The view extends from the "limb" of Pluto at the top of the strip, almost to the "terminator" (or day/night line) in the southeast of the encounter hemisphere, seen at the bottom of the strip," said NASA in a press release.

According to NASA, the photos included in the longest mosaic created of the planet. These were taken by New Horizon's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) at approximately 9,850 miles (15,850 kilometers) from Pluto, and at about 23 minutes before New Horizon's closest approach to the former known planet.

From the photograph, visible characteristics of the surface were observed like the cratered uplands on top, the parallel ridges of the "washboard" terrain and the chaotic and angular mountain ranges. Other properties are also visible upon further scrutiny, including the craterless plains, areas of sublimating nitrogen ice and the areas where nitrogen ice draped over the topography. Dark and rugged mountainous highlands with deep pits are can also be seen on the photograph.

All these valuable observations can help NASA's scientist in understanding Pluto further, despite its distance from the Earth.

 

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