NASA Researchers Published First Report of the Ultima Thule Flyby

NASA Researchers Published First Report of the Ultima Thule Flyby

Science

Before few months, NASA published a set of images revealing Ultima Thule – the Kuiper Belt object. At the time, one of NASA’s probe, New Horizons, performed the flyby of 2014 MU69, i.e., Ultima Thule. Now the New Horizons team has another piece of good news. The space agency has published the results of the data the spacecraft relayed by New Horizon. The data offers more information which sheds light on the formation of our solar system. As per scientists, Ultima Thule is a fantastic place present four billion miles away from Earth. There are two distinct lobes of Ultima Thule, and they call it as planetesimal, which means a leftover of the rocks that have joined to form planets.

The paper, published in journal Science, offers data on the development of planetesimal, their geological structure and composition. Alan Stern, New Horizons Principal Investigator, noted the findings regarding Ultima Thule are going to boost theories of the evolution of the solar system. The paper reveals that Ultima Thule is very red in colour, even more than Pluto. Scientists say it is the reddest object which New Horizon has visited till date. The team is unsure whether redness is due to the changes taking place in the organic materials on its surface. The paper also states that the distant object revolves on its axis every 15.92 hours.

Another groundbreaking discovery is the existence of water. It seems like water is present on Ultima Thule, the farthest place ever probed by humanity. NASA scientists have found evidence for a combination of water ice, methanol, and organic molecules on Ultima Thule’s surface. It is a very different type of icy object ever explored by the spacecraft. Although engineers and scientists working on Earth are still receiving data from the flyby, they will continue to collect data until late summer 2020. So surprises are on the way. Let’s wait and watch what happens next?

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