Pluto simulation

Below is a video created in Codea, using an actual terrain map of Pluto, to simulate the spacecraft approach to the (dwarf) planet. There is a long slow approach, then a very fast flyby, then Pluto disappears again. Make it full screen to feel the loneliness of space.

Pluto looks a bit like a jellyfish or a parachute, because the bottom is in shadow. As the spacecraft passes, Pluto hangs there momentarily as the camera keeps turning to face it.

I didn’t include the moon Charon, because there is no published map yet, and because getting the orbit right would be tricky.

It’s quite easy to create this, or a simulation of the earth, if you have the right image. I’ll do a post on it shortly.

Pretty cool!

Pluto will always be the 9th planet to me, no matter what they say.

NASA could have saved millions of dollars and 10 years of time by just watching your video.


[pedantry] though we wouldn’t have the terrain map at all without the latest satellite photos [\pedantry]

I guess this makes @Ignatz one of the first to create a third-party visualisation based on the NASA photos!

Could you make the camera orbit around Pluto a bit before zooming off?

Wow that’s awesome ^:)^

@yojimbo2000 - if you want to play with it, I’ll share the code. But NASA has already done it

In real life, the spacecraft was going too fast to go into orbit. I believe the closest approach took only 15 minutes - after a 10 year journey!

What I found surprising, given that the camera simply goes in a straight line past the sphere, always looking at it, was how the sphere comes up and almost hits you in the face. It’s a pity they couldn’t do a time lapse movie!