As NASA's New Horizons mission heads to Pluto, scientists could get an idea of what to expect by studying Triton, Neptune’s strange icy moon.
New Horizons marked a major anniversary on Aug 25 when the Pluto-bound spacecraft crossed the orbit of Neptune: It was 25 years ago that the Voyager 2 spacecraft first flew by Neptune and its satellite Triton.
The Voyager spacecraft’s encounter on Aug 25, 1989, was brief but dramatic. It snapped images of the cold gassy planet and its icy moon, the only time a spacecraft has encountered the distant ice giant. Those images have now been “restored” by Paul Schenk of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston and turned into new global maps and a breathtaking movie.