NASA has announced the latest discoveries from the historic flyby of the New Horizons probe Ultima Thule in the vastness of our solar system.
About 4 billion miles from Earth, New Horizons was about 2,200 miles from Ultima Thule. On New Year's Day, it zoomed past the frozen object at 32,000 miles an hour. The two merged spheres spanning 21 miles are the remotest object of the sky ever explored.
In a meeting on Thursday, the scientists said they have not found any evidence of an atmosphere on UItima Thule. The initial data analysis also revealed no signs of rings or satellites more than 1 mile in diameter orbiting Ultima Thule.
NASA SPACECRAFT Captures Images of an Extreme Flying Object in a Sound System in our SOLAR SYSTEM Ultima Thule lies deep in the so-called Kuiper Belt or in the Twilight Zone, well out of Neptune's orbit. In 201
On Thursday, scientists reported that the color of Ultima Thule corresponds to the color of similar worlds in the Kuiper Belt, as determined by telescope measurements. The day before, New Horizons delivered the first close-ups of Ultima Thule, which showed that NASA looks like a reddish snowman.
The two "rags" of Ultima Thule are also almost identical in color, according to the scientists on Thursday. 19659003] NASA: PLASTO ICY OBJECT PLASTO LIKE REDDISH SNOWMAN
Since Tuesday, New Horizons has been more than 3 million kilometers deeper in this mysterious region. It will continue to push out, observe other objects remotely and measure dust and particles.
The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland designed and built New Horizons and leads the mission of NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The Southwest Research Institute heads the New Horizons science team and payload operations.
"The first exploration of a small Kuiper Belt object and the world's most distant exploration is history, but almost all data analysis is in the future," said Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in the statement.
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Data transfer from the spaceship will last for about a second The week after the spacecraft passes behind the sun, scientists said on Thursday. Revised in January, starting with a 20-month download of the remaining "scientific treasures" from New Horizons.
Christopher Carbone and the Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter ] @jamesjrogers