25 years ago today, the Voyager 2 probe flew by Neptune and its moon Triton. Today, we get a fresh look at Triton’s surface thanks to Paul Schenk of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston. Schenk restored photos snapped by the Voyager 2 during its flyby and turned them into a minute-long video showing us a detailed look of Triton’s surface.
“In the intervening quarter century and its many discoveries, I think we have tended to forget how strange and exotic Triton really is!” Schenk wrote in a recent blog post.
In a follow-up blog post, Schenk calls Triton “one of the most fascinating bodies on the Solar System.” The surface of the moon “may be younger than a few million years and may be geologically active today.”
Schenk describes the surface of Triton further in this blog post. “Its maximum surface temperature is only 35 degrees above absolute zero, and yet volcanoes and geysers have remade its surface, possibly within the lifetime of the human species.”
The map in the video above was created using orange, green and blue filters. Enhanced colors give us better contrast, but it does show how the moon would look if we saw it with our own eyes according to NASA officials.
Neptune’s orbit is also getting a visitor on today’s 25th anniversary. NASA’s New Horizons probe is slated to cross the planet’s orbit today as it makes its way for a Pluto rendezvous on July 14, 2015. We will see our first good glimpses of the former planet then.
What can when New Horizons reaches Pluto? Schenk writes, “Guesses have ranged from active geology to cold and cratered, so we are in for a suspenseful Summer next year!”
What’s Voyager 2 up to these days? It continues its trek into the unknown. Voyager 1 entered interstellar space last year, and Voyager 2 is expected to cross into it soon.
Check out Schenk’s blog if you want to learn more about the Solar System’s icy moons.
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