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NASA's New Horizons Mission Reveals Entirely New Kind of World

Dragon
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Post by Dragon on Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:47 pm

Scientists from NASA's New Horizons mission released the first detailed images of the most distant object ever explored — the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule. Its remarkable appearance, unlike anything we've seen before, illuminates the processes that built the planets four and a half billion years ago.

"This flyby is a historic achievement," said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "Never before has any spacecraft team tracked down such a small body at such high speed so far away in the abyss of space. New Horizons has set a new bar for state-of-the-art spacecraft navigation."

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Post by Dragon on Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:48 pm

NASA's New Horizons Mission Reveals Entirely New Kind of World  20190102-pr
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

This image taken by the Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) is the most detailed of Ultima Thule returned so far by the New Horizons spacecraft. It was taken at 5:01 Universal Time on January 1, 2019, just 30 minutes before closest approach from a range of 18,000 miles (28,000 kilometers), with an original scale of 459 feet (140 meters) per pixel.

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NASA's New Horizons Mission Reveals Entirely New Kind of World  334pu7m
Dragon
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Post by Dragon on Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:49 pm

NASA's New Horizons Mission Reveals Entirely New Kind of World  MU69_image_v1%20copy
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The first color image of Ultima Thule, taken at a distance of 85,000 miles (137,000 kilometers) at 4:08 Universal Time on January 1, 2019, highlights its reddish surface. At left is an enhanced color image taken by the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC), produced by combining the near infrared, red and blue channels. The center image taken by the Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) has a higher spatial resolution than MVIC by approximately a factor of five. At right, the color has been overlaid onto the LORRI image to show the color uniformity of the Ultima and Thule lobes. Note the reduced red coloring at the neck of the object.

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NASA's New Horizons Mission Reveals Entirely New Kind of World  334pu7m
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Post by Dragon on Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:50 pm



NASA’s New Horizons mission arrived at Ultima Thule on 1 January 2019, at 05:33:00 UTC. The Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, minor planet number 485968, was nicknamed “Ultima Thule” (“beyond the known world”). Ultima Thule measures approximately 30 km in diameter, and is irregularly shaped.

New Horizons spacecraft flew by Ultima Thule at a distance of 3500 km (2200 miles). At that time, Ultima Thule was at a distance of almost 6.5 billion km (4 billion miles) from the Sun, making this the most distant planetary flyby that has yet been attempted, and the first time that a Solar System object of this type has been seen close-up.


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