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We will finally learn more about MU69, a weird, flat stones in the external solar system



MU69
Images: NASA / Johns Hopkins / Southwestern Research Institute, National Observatory for Optical Astronomy

NASA / Johns Hopkins Laboratory of Applied Physics

New Horizons Scientists have published their first peer-reviewed results of their study 2014 MU69 [19659005] (486958) 2014 MU69, nicknamed Ultima Thule, it seems a couple of rocks together, each about 10 miles. It rotates around the Sun at a distance of about 4 billion kilometers (Pluto rotates at a distance of about 3.7 billion miles). It seems to have remained relatively unchanged since the very early days of the solar system, and it has already presented some surprises when the New Horizon shipped its first images back – and now these first results are being published and checked. But for this team, everything just starts.

"It's too early," said Alice Stern, Chief Researcher of the New Horizons mission.

Astronomer Mark Bue opens the pixel MU69 using the Hubble Space Telescope in 2014, and New Horizons scientists set the view of the spacecraft on the image after the successful Pullo Planet Imaging Campaign. The object is a cool classic Koiber belt object, which means that it rotates around the Sun relative to the circular orbit. The uneasy is a thematic topic when it comes to this rock; The authors of the study call it "pristine". In essence, this is like a time capsule from the beginning of the solar system, which has not been altered under the influence of the Sun or other planets.

Detailed observations January 1, 2019, and today, mission scientists have released their first published set of peer-reviewed results in the journal Science. Their initial analysis revealed several important things: firstly, the object was a two-way contact binary, that is, there were two breeds that were encountered relatively slowly. It is strange that these rocks are flattened, not spherical. Secondly, there is no evidence of a ring, satellites, dust, gas atmosphere or any interaction with the solar wind. Thirdly, the brightness and texture seem to be changing throughout, with holes and brighter spots of vibrant material, but the composition itself does not seem to change.

This is just the initial results, and scientists will reduce the data from the New Horizons for at least another year. But researchers are already trying to understand the history of MU69. It seems that the object was formed after two adjacent homogeneous pebble clouds were united by gravity and then slowly merged with each other.

Scientists who study planetary education are excited by the idea of ​​this primordial world. "We can see what is more or less the same as it was at the end of the formation of the planet where it is now," said Cristo Van Laerhoven, a doctoral student from the University of British Columbia who is not part of the Team. New Horizons, Gizmodo reported. She explained that MU69 exists in an amount that is too large for electromagnetism to be a dominant force and too small for gravitational influence to be accepted, which means that it can provide more data to help in the sense of the Process of Planetary Education

And the flattened form of the subject is especially mysterious. "It's a bit strange that there is something flat in the outer solar system," said Gizmodo Kat Volk, a research fellow at the University of Arizona who is not part of the New Horizons team. Physicists usually think that things in space are spherical, so some thinking is needed to understand how the MU69 turned out to be the way it is done.

This is just one object, so we can not generalize the rest of the Kuiper Belt. "If we could just see more of them, it would be really cool," said Wolf. "Especially in a range of sizes that are difficult to see from the ground [on Earth.]"

The New Horizons team hopes to further explore the Kuiper Belt and Intermediate Belt areas, and may even plan a spillover of another object when space The ship continues its Journey from the Sun, said Stern. But before that, perhaps more secrets are waiting for them to be found in data that has not yet been downloaded.


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