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We’re so close to seeing Pluto it hurts

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This new GIF from NASA cuts deep

Look at this GIF that NASA just released:

pluto

Watch Pluto slowly spin and increasingly come into focus while Charon, one of the dwarf planet's moons, dances in orbit. While you're staring, think about the nine-year-long journey through space that New Horizons — a spacecraft that's bringing us closer to Pluto than ever — has taken. Then, right at the moment where Pluto starts to fill the screen to the point where you think you can make out what it really looks like...

BAM.

The GIF loops, and Pluto is suddenly far, far away again. That thing you thought might have looked like a crater on Pluto's surface is now imperceptible, just a few dark pixels next to some light pixels that mean little to your brain. The Pluto you see in this GIF will repeat this tease until you close your browser tab. Trust me.

But the real Pluto — the cold sphere once considered a planet of our solar system — is still out there, billions of miles away. Charon is really there, too. And so is New Horizons, which will fulfill its destiny when it performs a flyby of Pluto on July 14th. NASA is hosting an event that evening at New Horizons' mission control in the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, and it will reveal the first truly closeup image we've ever seen of Pluto on NASA TV. The Verge will be there to tell the story.

Until then, however, keep staring at this GIF. I swear, after a few loops, you can almost see Pluto get a little closer.


Verge Video Space exploration is back