One month ago today, the New Horizons spacecraft completed a 3-billion-mile journey across the Solar System and performed a flyby of Pluto. The images that it sent back were breathtaking and beautiful. Sadly, there was no video of the epic event — until now! Vimeo user Bjorn Jonsson made a simulated video that lets you relive the flyby from the theoretical passenger's seat of New Horizons.
Jonsson made the short video using real images taken by New Horizons of Pluto and its moon, Charon. You can even see Pluto's atmosphere, especially when the virtual camera swings around and sees the dwarf planet back-lit by the Sun.
New images of Pluto are coming next month
As for the fate of the spacecraft, the team on the ground is currently picking between two new targets in the Kuiper Belt — the giant ring of debris in our outer solar system — that are 100,000 times dimmer than Pluto. Team scientists will likely pick one later this month and submit an official proposal to NASA, and it will have to be vetted by a review board. If it's accepted and funded, the New Horizons team will steer the spacecraft toward the object later this fall.
In the meantime, the New Horizons team will begin the 16-month process of downloading the data from the spacecraft, and will start to release new images in September. Until then I'll just be watching this video again and again while I ceaselessly refresh the New Horizons raw image site.
Verge Video: The biggest discoveries from the Pluto flyby