Nasa’s New Horizons: ‘Space snowman’ appears squashed

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This interpretation is evident from the data acquired by the Nasa spacecraft when it looked back at icy Ultima Thule as it zoomed past at 50,000km/h.

Rather than being two relatively spherical bodies in contact with each other, Ultima Thule in this new analysis is determined to be much more squashed.

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The New Horizons science team now says the larger lobe, nicknamed “Ultima”, more closely resembles a giant pancake; and the smaller lobe, nicknamed “Thule”, is shaped like a dented walnut.

“We had an impression of Ultima Thule based on the limited number of images returned in the days around the flyby, but seeing more data has significantly changed our view,” explains principal investigator Prof Alan Stern.

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While you’re here, how about this:

New Nasa images reveal ‘highly unusual’ shape of most distant object ever explored

‘This really is an incredible image sequence, taken by a spacecraft exploring a small world four billion miles away from Earth’

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It is situated in the Kuiper Belt, a region of the solar system beyond the eight major planets, comprised of icy bodies floating in space.

The ‘highly unusual’ new look for Ultima Thule was captured around 10 minutes after the spacecraft passed by at its closest point, travelling at over 31,000 miles per hour.

‘This really is an incredible image sequence, taken by a spacecraft exploring a small world four billion miles away from Earth,’ said mission principal investigator Dr Alan Stern, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute.’

  • Publisher: The Independent
  • Date: 2019-02-10T10:36:31+00:00
  • Author: Josh Gabbatiss
  • Twitter: @independent
  • Citation: Web link (Read More)

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Space Pancake: NASA’s New Horizons Shows New Snaps of Distant World Ultima Thule

On the first day of the New Year, humanity became a little bit more familiar with the unknown. Fascinating fresh images have been taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft showing a view of Kuiper Belt object (KBO) – MU69, which goes by the nickname Ultima Thule.

Ultima Thule is said to’be the most distant world ever explored. There have been different assumptions about’its appearance: the most recent, based on’images taken within’a day of’the beginning of’the new year, was that both parts’ Ultima, the large lobe, and Thule, the smaller one, were nearly perfect spheres, barely touching each other, which NASA described as’being just like’a giant space snowman.

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New images from NASA confirm Ultima Thule’s flat shape – Xinhua |

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — The New Horizons mission from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has confirmed the shape of the most distant object ever explored, Kuiper Belt object nicknamed “Ultima Thule,” to be flat rather than spherical, according to latest images the spacecraft sent back to Earth.

New Horizons performed its farthest flyby when it approached Ultima Thule within 2,200 miles (about 3,540 km) of the surface at a velocity of 31,500 miles (about 50,694 km) per hour on Jan. 1.

The latest images were taken nearly 10 minutes after New Horizons crossed its closest approach point, which were the final views New Horizons captured of Ultima Thule, said a NASA release on Friday.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft unveils unique shape of Ultima Thule

Washington:’NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has beamed back new images of Ultima Thule, which show that the most distant world ever explored is much flatter than previously thought. The images of the KBO — officially named 2014 MU69 — were captured by the New Horizons as it raced away at over 50,000 kilometres per hour on January 1.’The images were taken nearly 10 minutes after New Horizons crossed its closest approach point.

The newly released images also contain important scientific information about the shape of Ultima Thule, which is turning out to be one of the major discoveries from the flyby. The first close-up images of Ultima Thule — with it’s two distinct and, apparently, spherical segments — had observers calling it a “snowman.”

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Finally, New Horizons’ First Photos of Ultima Thule

NASA just released the best images yet of Ultima Thule, the most distant world ever visited by a spacecraft. You’ll want to grab your 3D glasses if you’ve got ’em’we’re going stereoscopic.

On New Years’ Eve, following a 13-year trip to deep space, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made a close pass of Ultima Thule, a small, icy world drifting 4 billion miles from the sun in the unexplored “third zone” of our solar system. The probe zipped by at upwards of 31,000 miles per hour, about the same speed it was going when it passed Pluto in 2015. But Pluto is 100 times the size of Ultima, which measures just 20 miles long. So New Horizons had days to capture photographs and spectrographic readings of the former planet, but for this smaller cosmic quarry, it only had a matter of minutes. New Horizons’ visit was brief, but momentous: The mission’s success makes Ultima Thule by far the most distant object ever to be imaged up close.

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