Psychedelic Pluto Image Represents Wealth Of Information About Pluto

Posted: Nov 15 2015, 5:18am CST | by , Updated: Nov 15 2015, 9:15pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

Psychedelic Pluto Image Represents Wealth of Information about Pluto
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). Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

NASA has released a psychedelic pic of Pluto for the first time. It is indeed a pretty picture to gaze at in adoration.

We all may have seen the common photos of Pluto published by NASA. But what if there were a different picture of the planet? That is a picture consisting of principal component analysis. It happens to be a statistical methodology and it marks differences in the surface topology in variegated colors.

These variations are often missed by human vision. In this absolutely beautiful picture, the contrasting features are so delightfully and delicately differentiated via florescent colors that the overall effect makes us do a double take.

It might almost appear to be a work of art, but actually it is purely a scientific project. It is a picture that was taken from a distance of 22,000 miles on July 14th. The New Horizons Probe was responsible for taking the pic. This probe is next headed for the Rocky Kuiper Belt.

Via the extreme contrast of colors as seen in this picture, many patterns and motifs have become salient. When you compare it to the original rather boring picture, you see what a world of difference some fine-tuned marking with colors can make in an image.

The colors seem to literally attack you from within the framework of the pic. By now, the New Horizons Probe is millions of miles away from Pluto. It is hurtling into the depths of space and it will be sending back images of other objects of interest to NASA.

Psychedelic Pluto image was presented by Will Grundy of the NASA's New Horizons’ surface composition team on Nov. 9 at the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in National Harbor, Maryland.

The dedicated and diligent staff at NASA will be first deconstructing and then reconstructing the data to provide us laypersons with both information and entertainment in a single package. We can most certainly expect more such pictures in the future.

But the fact remains that this very interesting picture can almost be categorized as a work of art. The fact that it is actually scientific in nature does not detract from its merit as a beautiful object of aesthetic dimensions.

They say that Einstein’s work in physics is basically scientific too but it almost reaches such an apotheosis that it deserves the epithet of art. Such seems to be the case here too. The pic probably needs to be framed and set on a wall in a living room due to its extremely colorful nature.

“The New Horizons mission has taken what we thought we knew about Pluto and turned it upside down,” said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “It's why we explore -- to satisfy our innate curiosity and answer deeper questions about how we got here and what lies beyond the next horizon."

NASA presented recently 50 discoveries the New Horizons spacecraft made about Pluto.

“It’s hard to imagine how rapidly our view of Pluto and its moons are evolving as new data stream in each week. As the discoveries pour in from those data, Pluto is becoming a star of the solar system,” said mission Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “Moreover, I’d wager that for most planetary scientists, any one or two of our latest major findings on one world would be considered astounding. To have them all is simply incredible.”

NASA is not done yet with Pluto. There will be more to come.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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