The new Triton map has a resolution of 1,970 feet (600 meters) per pixel. The colors have been enhanced to bring out contrast but are a close approximation to Triton's natural colors. Voyager's "eyes" saw in colors slightly different from human eyes, and this map was produced using orange, green and blue filter images.
In 1989, most of the northern hemisphere was in darkness and unseen by Voyager. Because of the speed of Voyager's visit and the slow rotation of Triton, only one hemisphere was seen clearly at close distance. The rest of the surface was either in darkness or seen as blurry markings.
The production of the new Triton map was inspired by anticipation of
Although Triton is a moon of a planet and Pluto is a dwarf planet, Triton serves as a preview of sorts for the upcoming Pluto encounter. Although both bodies originated in the outer solar system, Triton was captured by Neptune and has undergone a radically different thermal history than Pluto. Tidal heating has likely melted the interior of Triton, producing the volcanoes, fractures and other geological features that Voyager saw on that bitterly cold, icy surface.
Pluto is unlikely to be a copy of Triton, but some of the same types of features may be present. Triton is slightly larger than Pluto, has a very similar internal density and bulk composition, and has the same low-temperature volatiles frozen on its surface. The surface composition of both bodies includes carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen ices.
Voyager also discovered atmospheric plumes on Triton, making it one of the known active bodies in the outer solar system, along with objects such as Jupiter's moon Io and Saturn's moon
Although a fast flyby, New Horizons' Pluto encounter on
Triton may not be a perfect preview of coming attractions, but it serves as a prequel to the cosmic blockbuster expected when New Horizons arrives at Pluto next year.
The new Triton map and movie can be found at:
In another historic milestone for the Voyager mission,
The Voyager mission is managed by
For more information about the
For more information about Voyager, visit:
For more information about New Horizons mission, visit:
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