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Art Meets Science in New Pluto Aerial Tour

18 Sep 2015, 19:01 UTC
Art Meets Science in New Pluto Aerial Tour
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

I’m Stuart Robbins, a research scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made hundreds of individual observations during its flyby of the Pluto system in mid-July. The spacecraft is now sending back lots of image and composition data; over the past two weeks, New Horizons has returned to Earth dozens of images at up to 400 meters per pixel (m/px) of the flyby hemisphere, and this has given scientists and the public an unprecedented view of this mysterious world.
I primarily use these images to map craters across the surfaces of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, to understand the population of impactors from the Kuiper Belt striking Pluto and Charon. While this is my research focus, another interest of mine is figuring out how to make visualizations that convey some of the sheer beauty and power of the features New Horizons is revealing. With that in mind, I’ve created a new animation/flyover of Pluto using images returned this month by New Horizons.
Since creating the Pluto flyby movie released Aug. 28, I have used the latest images to produce an animation that shows what it might be like to take an aerial tour ...

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