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NASA videos take you on a personal tour of Pluto

NASA videos take you on a personal tour of Pluto

Pluto, including a heart-shaped region on its surface, is pictured in this image from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, taken on July 13, 2015, when the spacecraft was 476,000 miles (768,000 kilometers) from the surface.

According to New Horizons data released late previous year, "Pluto's Heart" may hold an exciting huge ocean of slushy water ice.

To celebrate the two-year anniversary of the $896m mission that saw a U.S. spacecraft fly within 12,550 kilometres of dwarf planet, NASA and the New Horizons team have used images and data sent back to Earth to create a new, highly detailed animation of Pluto's surface.

New Horizons originally launched in January 2006, and after brief flybys of an asteroid and the gas giant Jupiter, it entered hibernation until arriving at the Pluto system in December 2014.

A flight over Pluto shows the highlands and the planet's nitrogen icy plain, Sputnik Planitia. The video then takes viewers into the light showing craters and mountainous terrain of Cthulhu Macula heading north into Voyager Terra and south over Pioneer Terra, which has deep, wide pits. The video concludes over "the bladed terrain of Tartarus Dorsa in the far east of the encounter hemisphere".

Two years ago, New Horizons sent home the first close-up images of Pluto and its moons, including its largest - Charon. The mosaic shows how Pluto's large-scale color patterns extend beyond the hemisphere facing New Horizons at closest approach, which were imaged at the highest resolution.

To emphasize both worlds' topography, topographic relief is enhanced two or three times in the videos.

New Horizons is now venturing deep into the Kuiper Belt, which is a region of icy bodies and dwarf planets like Pluto, according to NASA.

"I think the most surprising thing [to come out of New Horizons] is how complex that little planet is", the mission's principal investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Institute in Colorado, told Space.com on the flyby's two-year anniversary.

The view itself is pretty spectacular, but it also gives us a newer, more unique perspective on Pluto's terrain.

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