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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

New Years Flyby

New Years Flyby

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Tuesday, January 1, 2019/Categories: natural history, space science, art and design, environment, adventure

    

1st Ultima Thule Image (credit: NASA)

As New Years day was being celebrated, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft was making history with its flyby of the outer solar system object, Ultima Thule at ~2200 miles above the primal surface. The ancient designation for "beyond the known world", this strange Kuiper Belt object is 1 billion miles beyond Pluto. Pluto was the first outer world to be visited by New Horizons probe in 2015 which returned remarkable imagery and other data of that frozen world. According to NASA:

"New Horizons performed as planned today, conducting the farthest exploration of any world in history, more than 4 billion miles from the Sun. The first data looks fantastic and we're already learning about Ultima Thule up close and will just get better and better!"

So far, an initial Ultima Thule image has been been received but more will follow over the year. It appears that Ulimta Thule may be two objects stuck together like a bowling pin in a spinning orbit.

 

                           Ultima Thule, Artist Concept (credit: NASA)

What an appropriate way to usher New Year 2019 with the continuing "voyage of discovery" by this robotic explorer. 

WHB

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