This is the first movie created by New Horizons to reveal color surface features of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon. "It's a bit unusual to see so much surface detail at this distance," said New Horizons co-investigator William McKinnon, a member of the mission's Geology and Geophysics Investigation team, from Washington University in Saint Louis. "What's especially noteworthy is the level of detail in both bodies. It's certainly whetting our appetite for what's to come."
The images were taken between June 23 and June 29, 2015, as New Horizons' distance to Pluto decreased from a distance of 15 million to 11 million miles (24 million to 18 million kilometers). Six high-resolution black-and-white images from New Horizons' Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) instrument were combined with color data from the Ralph instrument to produce the movie.
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, designed, built, and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The Southwest Research Institute, based in San Antonio, leads the science team, payload operations and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
|Target Type||Dwarf Planet||Satellite|
|Instrument Host||New Horizons|
|Host Type||Flyby Spacecraft|
|Instrument||Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI)|
|Extra Keywords||Color, Movie, Visual|
|Date in Caption||2015-06-29|
|Image Credit||NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute|