New Horizons beams home close-ups of Ultima Thule

New Horizons Mission Operations Manager Alice Bowman of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory is seen before a news conference after the team received confirmation from the New Horizons spacecraft that it has completed the flyby of Ultim

Here's Our First Image Of Ultima Thule, The 'Most Distant Object Ever Visited By A Spacecraft' - Digg

Earlier this week, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flew by what it says is the most distant object ever explored by a spacecraft.

Ultima Thule was once two separate space rocks that joined together, known as a contact binary.

NASA researchers promised fresh announcements would drop Thursday, including on the composition and atmosphere of Ultima Thule, as new images with even more precise resolution have come through. Occasional astrophysicist and guitarist for Queen Brian May has gifted us with a song in tribute to NASA's successful mission to flyby Ultima Thule.

NASA shared a graphic showing how an object like Ultima Thule forms: "as a rotating cloud of small, icy bodies started to combine". And the metaphors write themselves! But Stern said that the phrase Ultima Thule is hundreds, if not a thousand, years old, and is apropos because it means "beyond the known universe" in Latin. "New Horizons has set a new bar for state-of-the-art spacecraft navigation". In total, the object is 31 kilometres from one end to the other, with the larger lobe being around 19 km across, and the smaller lobe about 14 km across. "Studying Ultima Thule is helping us understand how planets form - both those in our own Solar System and those orbiting other stars in our galaxy".

"New Horizons is like a time machine, taking us back to the birth of the solar system", Moore said.

Chelsea 'in trouble' after Olivier Giroud injury - Maurizio Sarri
He's a proven goalscorer through all the age groups at (former club) Chelsea and England. Sarri added: "Fabregas is a neck problem". I will have a meeting with the doctor.

Another camera captured a color view, revealing that Ultima is definitely red, said Carly Howett, a New Horizons science team member from the Southwest Research Institute.

The dark object is formed of two spheres which have combined to form one celestial object. New Horizons's journey into the solar system's past has just begun.

The less-red areas near 2014 MU69's neck - the connection point between the two lobes - carries a higher albedo or reflectivity than the rest of the so-far-observed rockey world, indicating the presence of fine grain particles in the neck region. Because Pluto is so far away, New Horizons had to get moving at a phenomenal speed to get there in a reasonable amount of time. "There's plenty of time to find other targets if we're in a position to having a still-healthy spacecraft, an accepted proposal, and our search is successful", Stern said. "We may discover that it doesn't have many craters and we may very well find that most of the surface texture is dominated by the slow accretion processes and not the high-energy impacts that cause craters".

The first color image of Ultima Thule, taken at a distance of 137,000 km (85,000 mi) at 04:08 am UTC on January 1st, 2019. Before that, scientists only had a blurry image of the body and thought it was composed of two more elongated parts - resembling something more like a peanut or bowling pin. "From here out the data will just get better and better!" He added: "We've never seen anything like this before". But it's a bummer that the New Horizons team is doubling down on the name, despite already knowing about its nefarious second meaning.

Latest News