NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft blasted off in 2006, with the objective to perform the closest flyby of Pluto ever performed and it’s about to reach its destination.
You might not realize it, but most pictures you’ve seen of Pluto in the past is simply an artist’s impression of what the little blue planet might look like. We’re about to get our first ever detailed, color images of the planet after a long wait.
An app for Mac and PC from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab called “Eyes on the Solar System” lets you watch a live computer simulation of New Horizons’ approach.
You can watch what it sees, how it maneuvers and what it’s currently scanning. It’s only a simulation, but it’s the next best thing since it’s not possible to livestream from a spacecraft that far away.
The spacecraft will be closest in just over 24 hours, at 12,500 KM from the surface.
As New Horizons approaches it’s creating long-range imagery and performing detailed mapping of the surface for the first time.
NASA has already started publishing pictures of Pluto and its moon, Charon, for the first time, which are providing incredible insights into what the surface of the planet looks like. Perhaps we can make it an official planet again, now?
➤ Eyes on Pluto [NASA JPL]