November 2015 1
The Surface of Pluto
Pluto is the farthest planet from Earth (dwarf planet for the purists), but it seems that each image that the New Horizons satellite sends back to Earth is more spectacular than the previous one. The amount of detail in many of the images is truly eye-opening. Unlike the Cassini mission, the piano sized New Horizons was moving so fast as it approached Pluto that it only got one chance at gathering as much data as it could before it sped by. Nonetheless, what it is sending back is astonishing and will take years to analyze.
I’m hoping to take some of New Horizons images and re-image them as three dimensional objects. I think this will allow an even greater appreciation of the beauty and complexity of this world. The short test animation above is a simple example of what I’m planning. It takes one of the first impressive images New Horizons sent back (an area now called Sputnik Planum) and places the viewer closer to the surface, which is how we are accustomed to seeing terrain. The snowy plains, gouged out troughs and hilly ridges are given depth. I’ll be doing more of this type of visualization in the future. The piece shown here is a work in progress. More to come!