Illustration for article titled The Complete Story of the Pluto Flyby in 12 NASA Visuals

Today we watched the Pluto flyby with New Horizons mission control via accurate-to-the-second visualizations and infographics. The results were glorious on the American Museum of Natural History’s IMAX screen.

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The New Horizons spacecraft is moving very, very fast:

Illustration for article titled The Complete Story of the Pluto Flyby in 12 NASA Visuals
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She is a beauty—compact yet complex, with named parts:

Illustration for article titled The Complete Story of the Pluto Flyby in 12 NASA Visuals

What we’re looking at, via io9: New Horizons is equipped with seven different instruments, including three optical instruments, two plasma instruments, a dust sensor, and a radio science receiver/radiometer:

  • LORRI: Long-range and high-resolution visible mapping
  • SWAP: Solar wind
  • PEPSSI: Energetic particle spectronomy
  • Alice: Ultraviolet imaging spectroscopy
  • Ralph: Visible mapping, infrared spectroscopic mapping
  • SDC: Student-built dust counter
  • Rex: Radio science and radiometry

Recent days have taught us much we did not know:

Illustration for article titled The Complete Story of the Pluto Flyby in 12 NASA Visuals
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Our continuing mission:

Illustration for article titled The Complete Story of the Pluto Flyby in 12 NASA Visuals
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This stamp is now totally a collector’s item and full of lies:

Illustration for article titled The Complete Story of the Pluto Flyby in 12 NASA Visuals
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Oh, you beautiful, shiny space beast:

Illustration for article titled The Complete Story of the Pluto Flyby in 12 NASA Visuals
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That’s no moon!!!

Illustration for article titled The Complete Story of the Pluto Flyby in 12 NASA Visuals
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New Horizons is three billion miles from home and has taken 9 1/2 years to arrive. Getting her there is like “threading a needle from New York to LA”

Illustration for article titled The Complete Story of the Pluto Flyby in 12 NASA Visuals
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Nitrogen, methane, carbon monoxide and more for everyone!

Illustration for article titled The Complete Story of the Pluto Flyby in 12 NASA Visuals
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At this point the scientists were getting verklempt: “This is a post-human planetary encounter.”

Illustration for article titled The Complete Story of the Pluto Flyby in 12 NASA Visuals
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There she is:

Illustration for article titled The Complete Story of the Pluto Flyby in 12 NASA Visuals
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You can download the “OpenSpace” software utilized here in its pre-alpha release in binary form:

Illustration for article titled The Complete Story of the Pluto Flyby in 12 NASA Visuals
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Its purpose is to “digitize the universe,” and in the future it will also be at work on space weather projects. Space weather. What a time to be alive.

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