NASA Releases First Video Of Most Distant Object Ever Explored

Posted: Jan 20 2019, 11:52am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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NASA Releases First Video of Most Distant Object Ever Explored

Distant object Ultima Thule is thought to be a pristine remnant of the early solar system.

On January 1, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made the historic close flyby of small Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule. Officially known as 2014 MU69, the object orbits a billion miles beyond Pluto and is thought to be a remnant of the early solar system. Around 4 billion miles from Earth, Ultima Thule is also the most distant object ever observed by spacecraft.

Upon its arrival at Ultima Thule, New Horizon’s spacecraft captured several images of the small, icy object and sent them back to the Earth. The images are now combined to create a video and show Ultima Thule in the nine hours between Dec. 31, 2018 and Jan. 1, 2019 as the spacecraft closes in on distant world. These images were taken by Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard NASA's New Horizons.

“During this deep-space photo shoot – part of the farthest planetary flyby in history – New Horizons' range to Ultima Thule decreased from 310,000 miles (500,000 kilometers, farther than the distance from the Earth to the Moon) to just 17,100 miles (28,000 kilometers), during which the images became steadily larger and more detailed.” New Horizons team said in a statement.

“All the images have been sharpened using scientific techniques that enhance detail.”

Ultima Thule is made up of two connected spheres, one of them three times bigger than the other. The bigger sphere named Ultima is estimated to be 12 miles across, while the smaller one Thule is around 9 miles wide. Both spheres are identical in color and take more than 15 hours to complete a full rotation.

“The rotation period of Ultima Thule is about 16 hours, so the movie covers little more than half a rotation. Among other things, the New Horizons science team will use these images to help determine the three-dimensional shape of Ultima Thule, in order to better understand its nature and origin.” Statement reads.

Ultima Thule is located in a vast dark region at the edge of the solar system, which contains hundreds of thousands of asteroids or cometlike objects. Unlike many other objects in solar system, Ultima Thule has been virtually untouched for billions of years and maintains its original pure state.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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