Ultima Thule High-Res Pictures From NASA New Horizons
Ultima Thule High-Res Pictures From NASA New Horizons
Brian May releases New Horizons song in honour of NASA mission
02 January, 2019, 23:08
New Horizons is named after the New Horizon space probe, and premiered on NASA TV on New Years Day, to coincide with the probe passing Ultima Thule in the Kuiper Belt, an object located a billion miles beyond Pluto, and the most distant rock ever to be visited by the human race.
Three different images of Ultima Thule, which is one billion miles beyond Pluto.
Scientists will have to be patient though, as it will take around 20 months for the probe to send back all of the information it has gathered during the flyby of Ultima Thule. Quite fitting really, for an icy world, 6.5 million km from earth.
The picture's were captured by the space agency's New Horizons probe, which has broken the record for most distant exploration of a solar object.
"New Horizons holds a dear place in our hearts as an intrepid and persistent little explorer, as well as a great photographer", said Dr. Ralph Semmel, Director of Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.
Scientist Jeff Moore says that the two spheres formed when small, icy pieces coalesced in space billions of years ago.
"Reaching Ultima Thule from 4 billion miles away is an incredible achievement. Eventually, 2 larger bodies remained & slowly spiraled closer until they touched, forming the bi-lobed object we see today".
"New Horizons is like a time machine, taking us back to the birth of the solar system", he added. "We are seeing a physical representation of the beginning of planetary formation, frozen in time". In the early solar system, many asteroids like Ultima Thule combined in the inner solar system to form the Earth and other rocky planets, so exploring Ultima Thule can give us a better understanding of what that environment looked like.
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People pile up wooden pallets prior to the traditional bonfire of New Year eve on the beach of Scheveningen. I can imagine that people experienced anxious moments", Dutch publication NL Times reported her as saying.
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