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Just days before an off-planet rendezvous, a NASA spacecraft has discovered something very strange in relation to the intended goal.
"It's really a mystery," agreed Alan Stern, NASA's New Horizons chief investigator led by Gizmodo.
"I call the first mystery of the Ultima," Stern remarked, adding, "Why is there such a tiny light?" Curve that we can not even recognize? "
Stern and his team were confident that images retrieved from the nearby flyby would reveal the source of the puzzle and observe the excitement after the voyage of the outgoing spacecraft to the stars.
" I'm leaving The detailed flyby images will provide many more secrets in the near future, but I did not expect that, and so soon, "he stated.
Launched on January 19, 2006, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft (30.4 kg) is now in the Kuiper Belt. Around 43 AU (an AE or astronomical unit) is the distance between the Earth and the Sun, about 93 million miles away from Earth, at a speed of 50,700 km / h.
Similar to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, but much larger, the solar system's Kuiper Belt lies beyond the eight major planets, from the orbit of Neptune (about 30 AU) to about 50 AU from the Sun.
The New Year's flyby at an astonishingly short distance of just 3,500 kilometers will reveal the composition and morphology of the 25-45 kilometer Ultima Thule, as well as the search for coma, wrestling and or orbiting moonlets,
There have been several theories about missing light curve of the KBO.
Research scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, Marc Buie, suggested that the rotation point of Ultima Thule could currently be aimed directly at the NASA spacecraft approaches. From this perspective, the spacecraft would not recognize the brightness shifts as the irregularly shaped stone crashes through space.
SETI Institute spokesman Mark Showalter explained another explanation and said, "Ultima [Thule] could be surrounded by a cloud of dust that obscures its light curve, much like the coma of a comet often reflects the light reflected from its central [core] overwhelmed, "he quotes from Gizmodo.com.
Anne Verbiscer, University of Virginia researcher and assistant to the New Horizons project, suggested that Ultima Thule might be surrounded by several small moons – each tumbling object creates a discrete light curve that in their words is a "jumbled overlay." generated by light curves ". "
There are no known examples of this type of celestial object in our solar system, which makes the idea unlikely.
Of course, social media and civilian NASA observers have played along with a prominent meme along this line:" I say not that they are aliens, but … "