NASA says faraway world Ultima Thule shaped like 'snowman'

That's because the New Horizons spacecraft, which has now traveled some 4 billion miles through our Solar System, finally made its flyby of the most distant object ever studied up close.

New Horizons was launched from Cape Canaveral nearly exactly 13 years ago in 2006, and previously performed flybys of Jupiter and Pluto in 2007 and 2015 respectively.

The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, designed, built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

That was when the New Horizons spacecraft flew by a celestial object nicknamed Ultima Thule, which is 1.6 billion kilometres beyond Pluto.

"We will never forget this moment", said May, who led the new year countdown. That's prompted scientists to dub the big one "Ultima" and the small one "Thule". "That's why we chose it", Stern said during a Wednesday press conference. Where yesterday's images showed just a few blurry pixels that looked like a bowling pin, the new photos reveal the rocky world to be more of a "snowman" shape, confirming its identity as a contact binary consisting of two large spheres.

Scientist Jeff Moore says that the two spheres formed when small, icy pieces coalesced in space billions of years ago. Here, it's unclear if Ultima is a single, peanut-shaped object or two objects stuck together.

The new imagery, dramatic though it may be, is just the tip of the Ultima Thule iceberg.

Fears over future of PizzaExpress amid 'talks over £1billion debt'
This comes after Pizza Express' major Italian restaurant competitor Prezzo shut down the majority of its restaurants past year . They said "tough trading conditions for United Kingdom restaurant chains", as one of the reasons for the upcoming talks.

Receive emails about upcoming NOVA programs and related content, as well as featured reporting about current events through a science lens.

While Earthlings partied the year away, the New Horizons spaceship on Tuesday completed its successful flyby-a major milestone for NASA. And it comes with a vivid choker of brightness encircling its slight neck.

"We could not be happier", New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern said. Out in the Kuiper Belt, reds may result from the irradiation of ices, but that's far from the only possibility. Although over a thousand KBOs already have been discovered (including the most famous KBO, Pluto), Ultima Thule wasn't found until 2014.

These tantalizing tidbits are only the beginning. According to Stern, the team has far less than one percent of all the data now onboard New Horizons in hand. The coming weeks will reveal more about the object's composition and terrain. A similar process is likely happening on Ultima Thule.

"Moments like this are what keep me going", Verbiscer says. It's like, boom, there it is: "a whole new world to explore".

"We think what we're looking at it is perhaps the most primitive object that has yet been seen by any spacecraft, and may represent a class of objects which are the oldest and most primitive objects that can be seen anywhere in the present solar system", Moore said during today's news conference.

Recommended News

  • Patriots Release TE Ben Watson

    Patriots Release TE Ben Watson

    After the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, Watson loomed as the eventual solution to the Patriots' struggling tight end position. The Patriots didn't activate the veteran tight end before the 4 p.m. deadline Monday making Watson a free agent.
    Kylie Jenner breaks silence on split with Travis Scott

    Kylie Jenner breaks silence on split with Travis Scott

    You could bet that you'll never find her crying into a tub of ice-cream re-watching "He's Just Not That Into You" on repeat. Tyga , who was already inside the club when Kylie arrived , was dressed casually in a long-sleeved striped polo shirt.
    October 2019 security patch comes to Pixel phones with critical bug fixes

    October 2019 security patch comes to Pixel phones with critical bug fixes

    Google has reportedly notified its Android partners, and the security patch is now also available on the Android Common Kernel. Those with vulnerable phones should make sure they download the patch as soon as it's available sometime in the next few days.
  • Samsung launches Chromebook 4 and 4+ with prices starting at $230

    Samsung launches Chromebook 4 and 4+ with prices starting at $230

    The Samsung Chromebook 3 has always been one of the best budget offerings in the Chromebook space. This is, in part, due to the larger 15.6-inch display with a higher pixel count of 1920 by 1080.
    Soldiers Fire, Protestors Disperse at Baghdad Protests in Iraq

    Soldiers Fire, Protestors Disperse at Baghdad Protests in Iraq

    Rasoul Saray, a 34-year-old unemployed Baghdad resident who wore a green mask, vowed to continue protesting despite the crackdown. The daytime curfew in Baghdad was lifted on Saturday, and smaller groups of protesters began to renew their action.
    Assistant principal accused of having sex with high school student for months

    Assistant principal accused of having sex with high school student for months

    Sources told WSOC that Rothwell engaged in sexual acts with a student three times in April and an additional three times in July. Cops say the assistant principal is accused of having sex with one of her students on several occasions last spring and summer.
  • Spotify update brings Siri support in iOS 13, new Apple TV app

    Spotify update brings Siri support in iOS 13, new Apple TV app

    This is huge for Spotify, the biggest music streaming service on the planet, with more than 96 million paying subscribers. You can ask Siri to play artists, albums, tracks, and playlists after updating to the latest version of the app.
    Today's Weather: Showers Moving In With Mild Air

    Today's Weather: Showers Moving In With Mild Air

    According to the meteorologists, they noted that rain will gradually clear this morning with sunny spells following from the west. Wednesday and Thursday will be partly cloudy with highs in the mid 60s and lows in the upper 30s to low 40s.
    Scores Arrested as Extinction Rebellion Protests Kick Off Worldwide

    Scores Arrested as Extinction Rebellion Protests Kick Off Worldwide

    Vancouver Police say they have a plan in place for Monday's event and will be monitoring the protest and traffic disruptions. Protesters lay around the bull with red paint on their bodies while one member waved a green flag from atop the statue.
  • Six wild elephants trip down waterfall, get killed in Thailand

    Six wild elephants trip down waterfall, get killed in Thailand

    Hell's Fall waterfall has become notorious among locals in the area after a herd of elephant's fell to their death in 1992. Two elephants that survived were stuck for hours on Saturday before officials at Khao Yai National Park found them.
    Patrick Mahomes tweaks ankle in banged-up Chiefs' loss to Colts

    Patrick Mahomes tweaks ankle in banged-up Chiefs' loss to Colts

    Mahomes turned his ankle in the first half and aggravated the injury while playing on it in the second half. Not only did he struggle in pass coverage, he was flagged four times for 68 yards.
    Boris Johnson to seek Supreme Court ruling on no-deal Brexit

    Boris Johnson to seek Supreme Court ruling on no-deal Brexit

    The EU is expecting workable proposals by the end of the week so they have time to prepare next week's EU summit. Stef Blok tweeted to call on the Government to show "more realism and clarity".

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.