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Best ever show off distant items Ultima Thule reveals strange circles, pits

The best images of Ultima Thule have made it to the earth, and they raise the plot of the free and distant world. On New Year's Day, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft zoomed over the 21-mile (34-mile) Ultima Thule, a record for the most distant planetary encounter in history . (Ultima is about 1 billion miles, or 1.6 billion miles, beyond Pluto, which flew New Horizons in July 2015.) New Horizons have been beaming with flyby data and images back to their handlers since then and will continue to do so for another 18 months. The early yield has been spectacular and revealed the Ultima Thule as a strange snowman-pancake hybrid with mysterious features, like a light "collar" where the body's two lobes meet. [ New horizons at Ultima Thule: Full coverage ] Now we have our best look yet. New flyby pictures were released today (February 22) showing Ultima in even more amazing details, capturing bright circular features and dark pits whose origins are mysterious. "If these properties [the pits] are craters produced by bumpers, sublimation pits, collapsed pits or anything else are discussed in our science team," New Horizons Deputy Project Researcher John Spencer, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) In Boulder, Colorado, said in a statement. The newly resolved images have a resolution of about 33 meters per pixel. They are images with the highest resolution New horizons have ever taken and maybe evening The photographs were captured only 6.5 minutes before the ship's closest approach on January…

The best images of Ultima Thule have made it to the earth, and they raise the plot of the free and distant world.

On New Year’s Day, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zoomed over the 21-mile (34-mile) Ultima Thule, a record for the most distant planetary encounter in history . (Ultima is about 1 billion miles, or 1.6 billion miles, beyond Pluto, which flew New Horizons in July 2015.)

New Horizons have been beaming with flyby data and images back to their handlers since then and will continue to do so for another 18 months. The early yield has been spectacular and revealed the Ultima Thule as a strange snowman-pancake hybrid with mysterious features, like a light “collar” where the body‘s two lobes meet. [ New horizons at Ultima Thule: Full coverage ]

Now we have our best look yet. New flyby pictures were released today (February 22) showing Ultima in even more amazing details, capturing bright circular features and dark pits whose origins are mysterious.

“If these properties [the pits] are craters produced by bumpers, sublimation pits, collapsed pits or anything else are discussed in our science team,” New Horizons Deputy Project Researcher John Spencer, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) In Boulder, Colorado, said in a statement.

The newly resolved images have a resolution of about 33 meters per pixel. They are images with the highest resolution New horizons have ever taken and maybe evening

The photographs were captured only 6.5 minutes before the ship’s closest approach on January 1

. At that time, New Horizons was 4,109 miles (6,628 km) from the Ultima Thule and 4.1 billion miles (6.6 billion miles) from Earth, mission team members said. (The closest approach took the probe within just 2,200 miles or 3,500 km of Ultima.)

There was no guarantee we would ever see Ultima Thule – whose official name is 2014 MU69 – in this dazzling light. Capturing the newly released images was a “stretch target” that required an exact square of Ultima in the narrow range of the New Horizon’s telescope camera. “By getting these pictures we demanded to know exactly where both small Ultima and New horizons were – moments for the moment – when they passed each other over 32,000 mph [51,500 km/h] in the dim light of the Kuiper belt, one billion miles beyond Pluto. was a much harder observation than we tried in our 2015 Pluto flyby, “New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, even by SwRI, said in the same statement .

“These” stretch targets “observations were risky because there was a real chance that we would only get a share or even none of Ultima in the camera’s narrow point of view,” Stern added. “But the science, operation and navigation layers nailed it, and the result is a field day for our science team! Some of the details we now see on Ultima Thule’s surface are unlike any object ever explored.”

New horizons were launched in January 2006 to lift the veil on Pluto, which had been largely mysterious since its discovery in 1930. Ultima Thule flyby is the center of an extended mission that runs through 2021.

New Horizons are in good shape health and have enough fuel to fly through yet another distant object if NASA grants another mission, [19659000] [GrandCentralPublishing2018illustratedby Karl Tate Mike Wall’s book on the search for alien life “19659015 ]) is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook .

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