It's been exactly a year since NASA's New Horizons spacecraft successfully flew by Pluto and captured incredible data about the dwarf planet.
But what if, instead of just passing by, a future space probe would actually manage to land on Pluto?
That's what NASA visualized in a new video released on July 14, which reveals how a future spacecraft would touch down in the midst of the mountains on Pluto's icy plains.
Fantasy Trip To Pluto?
Thanks to a team of New Horizons scientists, we can now imagine and watch for ourselves how a fantasy journey to Pluto would transpire.
The new video, which celebrates the Pluto flyby anniversary, was made from more than 100 images taken by New Horizons during its six weeks of approach and close flyby.
It begins with a distant spacecraft's view of the dwarf planet and its moon Charon, moving nearer toward both. The spacecraft would then perform a dramatic landing on the shoreline of the dwarf planet's frozen plains.
"Just over a year ago, Pluto was just a dot in the distance," says Alan Stern, principal investigator of the New Horizons mission at Colorado's Southwest Research Institute.
Stern says the new video shows what it would be like to "ride aboard" an approaching craft and see the dwarf planet grow "to become a world."
It shows what it would be like to swoop down over the dwarf planet's spectacular terrains as if the craft is approaching future landing.
An Incredible Journey
Before achieving its Pluto flyby, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft traveled in space for more than nine years at a distance of 3 billion miles.
Its successful mission marks the completion of the first reconnaissance of all the classical planets, according to NASA.
Now, New Horizons is on its way to another distant "world" far beyond Pluto.
Early in July, scientists confirmed that the New Horizons craft is set to fly to 2014 MU69 — a cosmic object situated about 1 billion miles from the dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt.
2014 MU69, which was detected only two years ago, is believed to be an icy remnant left behind from the era when planets began forming.
This extended New Horizons mission is expected to reach its closest approach to 2014 MU69 by Jan. 1, 2019.
Scientists hope that the upcoming flyby will be "much better" than that on Pluto because the object is four times closer compared to the previous mission.
New Horizons will use all of its seven instruments to gather high-resolution images of 2014 MU69. The data will be sent back to Earth by 2020. Until then, scientists are patiently waiting.
Watch the video below to see how a spacecraft would land on Pluto.