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Spacecraft New Horizons Returns The Most Extreme Views Of Ultima Thule – Solar System: NASA Science



The mission team called it the "purpose of stretching" – right before the approaching approach, precisely pointing the camera to NASA's New Horizons spacecraft to capture the most striking images of the Kuiper Belt object called Ultima Thule, its target and the furthest subject ever investigated.

Now that New Horizons sends these saved images that are sent back to Earth, the team can enthusiastically confirm that its ambition has been fulfilled.

These new Ultima Thule images – received by the telephoto (LORRI) in just a half and a half minutes until the nearest New Horizons approach to the subject (officially named 201

4 MU69) at 12:33 am EST January 1, 2019 – offer resolution about 110 feet (33 meters) per pixel. Their combination of high spatial resolution and favorable viewing angle gives the team an unprecedented opportunity to explore the surface, as well as the origin and evolution of the Ultima Thule, which is considered to be the most primitive object ever encountered by the spacecraft. "196", – said Alran Stern, head of the New Horizons researcher at the Southwestern Research Institute (SwRI). "Getting these images required us to know exactly where the miniature Ultima and the New Horizons were – instantaneously – when they passed one another at an altitude of over 32,000 miles an hour in the weak light of the Kuiper belt, a billion miles beyond Pluto, which was much more rigorous than everything we tried on our flight in 2015. It's risky because there was a real chance that we would get only a part or even none of Ultima in the narrow field of view of the camera, "continued Stern. Some details that we now see on the Ultima Thule surface, unlike any non-building objects were investigated earlier. "

A higher resolution reveals a number of superficial features that were not apparent in previous images, there are several bright, mysterious, approximately round areas of the area .In addition, many small dark holes near the terminator (the boundary between the solar and the dark sides of the body) are better resolved. "Are these functions of craters made by shock devices, submerged holes, pitting curves, or something completely different, discussed in our research team," said John Spencer, deputy in enoho project of SwRI.

Johns Hopkins Laboratory of Applied Physics has noted that the latest images have the highest spatial resolution of any New Horizons taken – or ever taken – throughout their mission. Placing at a distance of just 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers), New Horizons flew about three times closer to Ultima than its first mission, Pluto, in July 2015. made with the highest navigational accuracy achieved by any spacecraft earlier. This unprecedented accuracy was achieved through 2017 and 2018 land-engagement campaigns conducted in Argentina, Senegal, South Africa and Colombia, as well as in the mission of the European Space Agency Gaia, which provided the location of the stars used during

Look for these and others. LORRI image on New Horizons LORRI website this week. Raw images from the camera are posted on the site every day.

Mission Manager Alice Bowman of APL reports that the spacecraft continues to work flawlessly. New Horizons – almost 4.13 billion kilometers from Earth; At this distance, radio signals moving at a speed of light reach the large antennas of the Deep Space Network NASA six hours and nineteen minutes after New Horizons sends them. Keep track of the new horizons on the ride through the Kuiper belt.


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