Friday 28 April 2017

Pluto in living colour: NASA releases spectacular images of the dwarf planet

NASA have released this false colour image of Pluto
Credit:Twitter/NASANewHorizons
NASA have released this false colour image of Pluto Credit:Twitter/NASANewHorizons

Sarah-Jane Murphy

A stunning false psychedelic image of Pluto has been released by NASA New Horizons scientists.

The eye-catching illustration was designed to highlight the various differences in texture and composition of Pluto's surface.

'Psychedelic Pluto’ is the latest image to be created and has created a stir online after being shared hundreds of times on Twitter.

"New Horizons scientists made this false colour image of the dwarf planet using a technique called 'principal component analysis'.

"The image data were collected by the spacecraft’s Ralph/MVIC colour camera on July 14 at 11:11 AM UTC, from a range of 22,000 miles (35,000km)," NASA said in a statement.

IN recent months NASA have released several enhanced colour images of Pluto, including pictures of its biggest moon, Charon.

"These images show that Pluto and Charon are truly complex worlds. There’s a whole lot going on here," said Will Grundy, a New Horizons co-investigator.

"Our surface composition team is working as fast as we can to identify the substances in different regions on Pluto and unravel the processes that put them where they are."

Dennis Reuter, co-investigator with the New Horizons Composition Team, added: "We make these colour images to highlight the variety of surface environments present in the Pluto system.

"They show us in an intuitive way that there is much still to learn from the data coming down."

NASA's mission to Pluto, which began in 2006, reached its climax in July when New Horizons made history by flying close to the dwarf planet and capturing breathtaking images.

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