Each colour highlights Pluto’s distinct regions

NASA releases false colour image of Pluto and it is trippyImage: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
Flix Space Saturday, November 14, 2015 - 13:24

Scientists on NASA on Friday released a 'false colour image' of Pluto, with each colour highlighting Pluto’s distinct regions, and what an image it is!

On its website, NASA said "New Horizons scientists made this false color image of Pluto using a technique called principal component analysis to highlight the many subtle color differences between Pluto's distinct regions. The image data were collected by the spacecraft’s Ralph/MVIC color camera on July 14 at 11:11 AM UTC, from a range of 22,000 miles (35,000 kilometers)."

As cnet puts it, "The result is a picture of Pluto that makes it look like it was hanging out backstage at a Doors concert during the heyday of LSD."

NASA's New Horizons mission - launched in 2006 and travelled over 4.8 billion km so far at the speed of 45,000 km per hour to fly past the mysterious dwarf planet in July this year.

On board the New Horizons are seven sophisticated science instruments and the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, the astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930. NASA was expecting a dark grey icy planet but the probe found it is red and appeared to be oxidised like Mars. 

Earlier, the New Horizons probe settled one of the most basic questions about Pluto - its size. Mission scientists have found Pluto to be 2,370 km in diameter, somewhat larger than many prior estimates.

 

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.