Science 

Nasa’s New Horizons: ‘Space snowman’ appears squashed

Image copyright NASA/JHU-APL/SWRI/NOAO Image caption Images taken of Ultima Thule as New Horizons passed behind the object It seems the “space snowman” is more like a “gingerbread man”. Scientists studying the distant object known as Ultima Thule are revising ideas about its shape after examining the latest images downlinked to Earth. The pictures, taken by the New Horizons probe on 1 January, show the apparently bulbous body to be quite flat. This interpretation is evident from data acquired by the Nasa spacecraft as it looked back at icy Ultima Thule…

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Nasa’s New Horizons: Best image yet of ‘space snowman’ Ultima Thule

Image copyright NASA/JHU-APL/SWRI The New Horizons probe has sent back its best picture yet of the small, icy object Ultima Thule, which it flew past on New Year’s Day. The image was acquired when the Nasa spacecraft was just 6,700km from its target, which scientists think is two bodies lightly fused together – giving the look of a snowman. Surface details are now much clearer. New Horizons‘ data is coming back very slowly, over the next 20 months. This is partly to do with the great distance involved (the separation…

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After historic flyby, New Horizons probe treks deeper on hunt for moons

(Reuters) – After studying a space rock some 4 billion miles (6.4 billion km) from Earth, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft set off on a new hunt for moons in the solar system’s most distant edge, searching for clues on our solar family’s creation, scientists said on Thursday. FILE PHOTO: An artist’s impression of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, currently en route to Pluto, is shown in this handout image provided by NASA/JHUAPL. REUTERS/NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Handout The piano-sized probe is traveling deep into the ring of celestial…

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Nasa’s New Horizons: ‘Snowman’ shape of distant Ultima Thule revealed

Image copyright NASA Image caption The ‘snowman’ rotates at a rate of about 15 hours The ice world known as Ultima Thule has finally been revealed. A new picture returned from Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft shows the little world to be two objects joined together – to give a look like a “snowman”. The US probe’s images acquired as it approached Ultima hinted at the possibility of a double body, but the first detailed picture from Tuesday’s close flyby confirms it. New Horizons encountered Ultima 6.5 billion km from Earth.…

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New Horizons: Nasa probe survives flyby of Ultima Thule

Signals from the Nasa probe confirm it has survived a flyby of Ultima Thule, the most distant object ever explored in the Solar System. Scientist at the American space agency confirmed New Horizons was in a “healthy” condition after passing the icy space rock some hours ago. Ultima Thule lies 6.5bn km (4bn miles) from Earth, beyond the Solar System in an area termed the Kuiper Belt. The probe will send photos and other observations over the coming months. This breaking news story is being updated and more details will…

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Nasa’s New Horizons: Excitement ahead of Ultima Thule flyby

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionAlan Stern: “It’s pure science and pure exploration” History will be made on Tuesday when Nasa’s New Horizons probe sweeps past the icy world known as Ultima Thule. Occurring some 6.5 billion km (4 billion miles) from Earth, the flyby will set a new record for the most distant ever exploration of a Solar System object by a spacecraft. New Horizons will gather a swathe of images and other data over the course of just a few hours leading up to and…

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Nasa’s New Horizons probe on course for historic flyby

Image copyright NASA Image caption Artwork: At this stage, scientists can only speculate what Ultima Thule looks like The American space agency’s New Horizons probe remains on course for its daring flyby of Ultima Thule. When the mission sweeps past the 30km wide object on New Year’s Day, it will be making the most distant ever visit to a Solar System body – at some 6.5 billion km from Earth. Mission planners decided at the weekend to forego a possible trajectory change. It means the probe will get to fly…

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