Most distant celestial object explored looks like snowman

Taken at the Mission Operations Center of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel Maryland on Jan. 1 2019

NASA Has Photographed The Furthest Object Ever Explored

Although over a thousand KBOs already have been discovered (including the most famous KBO, Pluto), Ultima Thule wasn't found until 2014. But when better, closer pictures arrived, a new consensus emerged Wednesday.

"It's two completely different objects that are now joined together", said S Alan Stern, principal investigator for the mission.

"This is the first object that we can clearly tell was born this way" Stern said, instead of evolving as a sort of "bi-lobe".

New Horizons will send back data pertaining to Ultima Thule's geology, composition, and potential atmospheric conditions, providing a nifty look at a 31-km-long proto-planetoid and hopefully answering a few questions about how the larger masses in our solar system came to be. End to end, the world measures 19 miles (31 kilometers) in length.

Researchers believe the spheres were formed from two rotating clouds of smaller chunks of ice and pebbles that coalesced.

Despite the slender connection point, the two lobes are "soundly bound" together, according to Moore.

The dark object is formed of two spheres which have combined to form one celestial object. It is the first contact binary NASA has ever explored. NASA hopes it will help to illuminate how planets were created four and a half billion years ago, both in our solar system and beyond. Is it two icy objects orbiting each other, or a single "peanut"?

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute and so forth have begun analyzing all aspects of Ultima Thule, including its most basic elements - like its number of hills, ridges, impact craters, etcetera.

In the meantime, get ready for even better images and science tomorrow and in the weeks and months ahead. "10, No. 4", Ultima Thule was just across the border from the Choctaw Nation in Arkansas and had a post office, blacksmith shop, general store and a gin.

The first high-resolution images of a 34km tall snowman-shaped object that lies a billion miles beyond Pluto have been released by Nasa.

We now know the basics of this odd object, the most distant solar system body ever explored by a spacecraft.

"We think what we're looking at is perhaps the most primitive object that has yet been seen by any spacecraft, and may represent a class of objects which are the oldest and most primitive objects that can be seen anywhere in the present solar system", Mr Moore said.

"This thing was born somewhere between 99 percent and 99.9 percent of the way back to T-zero (liftoff) in our solar system, really fantastic", Stern said. It's not fish or fowl.

We also now know that Ultima Thule has a reddish/brown tint to its surface.

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