NASA releases first distant celestial body Ultima Thule photo: NASA has released the first close-up photos of Ultima Thule, the most distant celestial body ever flew over - and it looks like a red snowman.

The year 2019 began in style in space, with NASA's Ultima Thule, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, the celestial body farthest from the Earth that a craft has ever flown over.

Incidentally, the US probe took a series of first shots that revealed the most accurate face we know of Ultima Thule, reports Business Insider US.

NASA releases first distant celestial body Ultima Thule photo

NASA and the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, both leading the 2006 mission, shared the first close-up photos of this 32-km-long, 16-km-wide celestial body.

NASA has released the first close-up photos of Ultima Thule, the most distant celestial body ever flew over - and it looks like a red snowman

The most accurate image of Ultima Thule, taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, on January 1, 2019. NASA / Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute / Handout via REUTERS.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft approached January 1, 2018 Ultima Thule, the celestial body farthest from Earth that a craft had flown over.

Incidentally, she took a series of photos, the first of which have just been revealed by the American Space Agency and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, both leading the mission launched in 2006.

We discover that Ultima Thule is composed of two contiguous spheres, which gives it the shape of a snowman.

The year 2019 began in style in space, with NASA's Ultima Thule, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, the celestial body farthest from the Earth that a craft has ever flown over.

Incidentally, the US probe took a series of first shots that revealed the most accurate face we know of Ultima Thule, reports Business Insider US.

NASA and the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, both leading the 2006 mission, shared the first close-up photos of this 32-km-long, 16-km-wide celestial body.

Mission Manager Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute said, "He's a snowman."

Indeed, Ultima Thule is composed of two contiguous spheres, united following a collision at very low speed:

"If it had been two cars bumping into a parking lot, you might not even have made a statement," said Jeff Moore, mission geology manager.

The largest sphere is called Ultima and the small - three times smaller in volume - is called Thule.

These first tight shots give a clue to the color of this asteroid:

 "We can definitely say that Ultima Thule is red," said Carly Howett, one of the scientists at the mission.

The middle part between the two bodies is lighter in color - orange-red - which could mean that its composition is different.

Located in the Kuiper Belt, on the edge of our solar system, more than 6.5 billion kilometers from Earth, Ultima Thule was spotted in 2014 by the Hubble Space Telescope. It was then decided that after flying over Pluto, the New Horizons probe would meet the asteroid.

All the data collected concerning Ultima Thule are supposed, in time, to allow us to know more about the conditions of formation of the planets of the solar system.

Indeed, Ultima Thula, located beyond the planet Neptune in a cold zone, has been preserved from the ravages of the sun's rays, as Alan Stern explained:

"This object is so iced that it is preserved in its original form.What we will learn about Ultima - its composition, its geology, how it was formed, whether it has satellites or atmosphere - will tell us about the conditions of formation of solar system objects. "

Mission scientists said a scientific article will be published next week on these early snapshots, although it will take them 20 months to download the six gigabytes of data collected during the first round.


RELATED: NASA's Cassini spacecraft is closer to Saturn than ever - this is what his suicide mission reveals to us

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has begun its suicide mission.

The nuclear-powered probe has been in orbit around Saturn for 13 years, and has sent hundreds of thousands of images, including close-ups of the gas giant, its famous enigmatic rings and moons - including Titan, which has its own unique atmosphere. , and the icy Enceladus, which has an underground ocean that could harbor a micro-bacterial life.

To prevent Cassini from crashing and contaminating one of these hidden oceans, the US Space Agency has directed the probe, running out of fuel, into the depths of Saturn.

On Monday, August 14, the space probe began the first of its last five orbits around the planet, plunging into the atmosphere of Saturn, according to NASA. This is part of the mission's "Grand Final" that lasted 20 years and cost $ 3.26 billion, and will end on September 15 when the spacecraft will conduct its ultimate dive and burn like a meteorite.

"When she makes her five dives in Saturn, followed by her ultimate dive, Cassini will become the first atmospheric probe of Saturn," says Linda Spilker, a Cassini project scientist at JPL, in a press release. "It has been a goal of planetary exploration, and we are setting the stage for future explorations with this first breakthrough."

These last dives will reveal new information about Saturn, its atmosphere and its clouds, the materials constituting its rings, and the mysterious gravitational and magnetic fields of the gas planet.

"It's a grand finale for Cassini," Linda Spilker told Business Insider before. "She will work for science until her last second."

NASA's Cassini spacecraft observes the night side of Titan, one of Saturn's moons in a view that emphasizes the foggy nature of the moon's atmosphere. The view is taken at a distance of about 2 million kilometers from Titan.

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