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Home / Science / Pancakes in space? No, that's just the mysterious MU69

Pancakes in space? No, that's just the mysterious MU69



  An animated representation of MU69 or Ultima Thule
An animated representation of MU69 or Ultima Thule

Image: NASA / Johns Hopkins University of Applied Physics / Southwest Research Institute / National Observatory of Optical Astronomy

It's a weird little world.

At 4 billion miles from Earth, MU69 (also called Ultima Thule) is the farthest object a human spaceship has ever visited. In recent years, scientists have called MU69 an unknown, mysterious "puzzle". After the 13-year-old New Horizons probe finally broke through the frozen rock on New Year's Day 2019, the object became a snowman shaped, frozen stone.

Now that new images of MU69 have been obtained, both planet scientists suspect his "rags" are flat as well.

"The larger lobe, referred to as" Ultima, "is more like a giant pancake, and the smaller lobe, called" Thule, "has the shape of a toothed walnut," the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab ( with headquarters of the mission) online described in detail. [/] [/] "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" »» »» »» »» »» Questions » »» Erstein «- <- object in a new light, create more puzzles. Other Solar System objects that are similar to MU69 – such as comets – have rounder, but still incomplete shapes.

"It would be closer to reality to say that the shape of Ultima Thule is flatter, like a pancake," Alan Stern, head of the New Horizons mission, said in a statement. "Above all, the new images create scientific puzzles about how such an object could be formed, and we have never seen anything like this orbiting the sun."

New Horizons – the legendary spacecraft that captured these images from MU69 – The latest image sequence shot on January 1, 2019, as the MU69 spacecraft swept away at 31,000 miles per hour, racing deeper into the black abyss of space yet unknown goals.

These are certainly not the last images we'll see of MU69, nor are they the next. But they are the final views New Horizons has captured from this distant, icy world.

MU69 is a place of great scientific intrigue. It is kept in a ring of old frozen objects, the so-called Kuiper belt, which form a ring around the solar system. Here outside, temperatures drop to almost zero or negative 460 degrees Fahrenheit, which is as cold as it naturally can.

  The latest conceptions of the form of MU69

The most recent conceptions of the form of MU69 [19659019] Picture: NASA / Johns Hopkins University – Laboratory of Applied Physics / Southwest Research Institute

Scientists believe that objects such as the MU69 Frozen here in this remote, icy area before the onset of the solar system about 4 billion years ago in pristine condition.

It is an artifact of our cosmic past.

While New Horizons radiates more images through the solar system, we will most likely see strange, unprecedented things.

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