Ultima Thule: Nasa reveal high-res picture of snowman-shaped faraway object

NASA Says No Evidence of Atmosphere on Ultima Thule

NASA Says No Evidence of Atmosphere on Ultima Thule

It looked like a blurry, reddish snowman. It's located in the Kuiper Belt, an icy region of our solar system beyond the orbit of the major planets.

'These are the only remaining basic building blocks in the back yard of the solar system that we can see that everything else that we live on, or receive through our telescopes, or visit with our spacecraft, were formed from.

New Horizons - which previously revealed the majesty of Pluto in 2015 - swooped just 2,200 miles from the surface of MU69, which has been temporarily nicknamed Ultima Thule (the International Association of Astronomers will eventually endow MU69 with its official name).

It was the first exploration of such a primitive - and distant - planetary object in human history.

"Our solar system is four billion years old... so its initial conditions have been kind of washed out", Kalirai explains.

The probe won't start sending back most of its Ultima Thule info until next week, when the sun stops blocking its transmissions to Earth.

New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern called the mission "a technical success beyond anything ever attempted before in spaceflight".

The first color image of Ultima Thule.

Mission organizers have been criticized for calling the object by a name that Nazis used for the mythical birthplace of the Aryan race.

Tell us your demands for the backstop, Varadkar urges May
Mr Varadkar said that he hoped the planning would be "futile" but it was necessary before the March 29 exit date. We agreed that we would stand by the agreement we made with the United Kingdom.

"That bowling pin is gone - it's a snowman if anything at all", Stern said during a Nasa briefing.

"I was inspired by the idea that this is the furthest that the Hand Of Man has ever reached", says May.

Perhaps scientists will spot another faint, distant object, and send New Horizons that way.

Ultima Thule was formed by the joining of objects orbiting around each other. It resembled something of a pixelated peanut, or a celestial bowling pin.

During his science presentation, Stern also referred to the two lobes of the space rock as "Ultima" (the larger lobe) and "Thule" (the smaller one). Mutual gravitational attraction keeps them married despite their gentle, 15-hour rotation.

Moore said it appears the two spheres came together gently, at speeds of perhaps 1 or 2 miles per hour - not in some violent collision in space.

The new images show Ultima to be a contact binary, consisting of two separate masses that became stuck together. "This is exactly what we need to move the modeling work on planetary formation forward".

"In the coming months, New Horizons will transmit dozens of data sets to Earth, and we'll write new chapters in the story of Ultima Thule - and the solar system", said Helene Winters, New Horizons Project Manager. On average, the object is about as bright as the darkest spot on Pluto's surface, Verbiscer says. That's why it already holds such lessons about the formation of the planets.

Some 4.5 billion years ago a cloud of frozen pebbles began to join forces, gradually forming two bodies - Ultima and Thule.

Recommended News

  • Scientists hack plant photosynthesis to boost crop yields by 40%

    Scientists hack plant photosynthesis to boost crop yields by 40%

    Scientists in the United States have engineered tobacco plants that can grow up to 40% larger than normal in field trials. Beachy said that the work raises as many questions as it answers, and "will keep scientists busy for a number of years".
    USB Type-C Authentication Program launched to protect your devices

    USB Type-C Authentication Program launched to protect your devices

    This means device manufacturers can also limit the number of devices that can be compatible with your mobile phone or a laptop. But now that iPad Pros have USB-C charging, and maybe even future iPhones, it might be good to make it a rule.
    Teen arrested over Scientology stabbing in Sydney

    Teen arrested over Scientology stabbing in Sydney

    The site - which borders the Lane Cove national park - was snapped-up for about $37million (£20million) by the secretive group. It's a closely guarded, secret facility, but the Church of Scientology's Sydney headquarters are now a crime scene.
  • Google's next OS, Fuchsia, will run Android apps

    Google's next OS, Fuchsia, will run Android apps

    Forward-looking: We've known for a while now that Google is working on the eventual successor to Android: Fuchsia OS. Looks like Google won't make your Android apps obsolete whenever it switches to the Fuchsia operating system .

    Kansas ranks 5th in nation for people moving from state

    Of the new residents, 34.38 percent said they moved due to their job and another 31.25 percent said they planned to retire there. Among the reasons people are moving to OR , the company broke out "family" and "lifestye" as reasons for the state's popularity.
    Rail fares rise by 3.1% in England and Wales

    Rail fares rise by 3.1% in England and Wales

    Protests against rises elsewhere are expected outside stations across the country from rail unions, politicians and campaigners. Commuters faced disruption on the rails on the day season ticket prices were increased by another 3.1 per cent.
  • New Marvel Video Game in Development from Ex-Hearthstone Leads

    Little is known about the untitled game, which has secured $30 million in financing from China's tech development company NetEase. Former Blizzard Entertainment developers have announced their new studio has formed a deal with Marvel to work on a new game.
    What are the world's safest airlines for 2019?

    What are the world's safest airlines for 2019?

    A good airline is determined by the way the crew handles problems, he added. "Don't forget, you get what you pay for". All top 20 airlines achieved the full seven stars.
    Samsung announces space-saving desk monitor ahead of CES

    Samsung announces space-saving desk monitor ahead of CES

    It also supports HDR10, giving gamers better brights, rich shadows and vibrant color, with a peak brightness of 1,000 nits. Finally, we've got the UR59C 32-inch monitor, which nearly feels like standard fare compared to the other two.
  • United Kingdom  counter-terrorism police investigate stabbings in Manchester

    United Kingdom counter-terrorism police investigate stabbings in Manchester

    Neighbours said the blue VW Jetta in which he drove away belonged to the brother that worked at Manchester airport. Clack said it took " six or seven " officers to wrestle the attacker down, using a Taser and pepper spray.
    Jermain Defoe and Steven Davis expected to join Rangers

    Jermain Defoe and Steven Davis expected to join Rangers

    For sure, I think he has something to offer but he is getting on a bit and so I would like to think we're going to bring in other options as well as him.
    Cargo spill sparks sandy free-for-all on Dutch beach

    Cargo spill sparks sandy free-for-all on Dutch beach

    Defence Ministry spokesman Sjaak Van Elten said: "The expectation is the more things may wash up on beaches tonight". Dutch soldiers cleaned the mess and emergency services warned volunteers to not touch the containers.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.