Paul Schenk of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston produced the map after restoring photos snapped by the Voyager 2 probe during its flyby of Neptune and Triton on Aug. 25, 1989. The new map has also been turned into a minute-long movie of Voyager 2’s historic Triton encounterÂ â€”Â the first and only time a spacecraft has ever visited the Neptune system.
The new map, which has a resolution of 1,970 feet (600 meters) per pixel, may help bring enigmatic Triton back into the spotlight.
“In the intervening quarterÂ century and its many discoveries, I think we have tended to forget how strange and exotic Triton really is!”
“Its effective surface age may be a little as 10 million years (old), clearly implying that activeÂ geology is going on today,” he added. “TheÂ cantaloupe terrain, which IÂ interpreted back in 1993 as due to crustal overturn (diapirism), hasn’t been seen anywhere else. The volcanic region, with itsÂ smooth plains and volcanic pits large and small, is the size of Texas. And the southern terrains still defy interpretation.”
Schenk produced the map using green, blue and orange filters. Colors have been enhanced to accentuate contrast but still show Triton roughly as human eyes would see it, NASA officials said.