A selection of scenes depicting the Pluto/Charon system, including some that were used in the NOVA documentary Chasing Pluto, produced for PBS. This brilliant documentary film, produced by Terri Randall and edited by Jedd Ehrmann, documented the New Horizons mission to Pluto, and included the amazing images that the New Horizons satellite captured on its initial approach of the dwarf planet.
Giving the viewer an idea of what the surface of this beautiful and complex world might look like was the goal of these short scenes. Many of the scenes turned out to be prescient, as New Horizons returned images of mountains, vast ice planes, mysterious dark areas and rocky crevices – very surprising to the mission scientists.
This is a detail from the video. It was modeled and textured in NewTek’s Lightwave 3D software. A grayscale displacement map was used for the craters. In the video, the crater is filled with shimmering liquid neon, a possibility a few scientist suggest might occur, but has never been confirmed. The wispy atmosphere that is shown in that scene was added in post production with the program Adobe After Effects.