NASA Makes Space History With Distant Fly-By

An artist's illustration of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft as it flies by Ultima Thule in the Kuiper Belt beyond Pluto on Jan. 1 2019

Ultima Thule, at 4 billion miles from the sun and and 1 billion miles from Pluto, will be the most distant object ever directly explored, according to NASA.

NASA is celebrating the record-setting encounter with the solar system's nerdiest New Year's party. So they had to wait until late morning before learning whether the spacecraft survived.

'An even more weird scenario is one in which Ultima is surrounded by many tiny tumbling moons, ' said University of Virginia's Anne Verbiscer, a New Horizons assistant project scientist. Now, it is heading towards the edge of the solar system and will shortly reach Ultima Thule, where it will complete a historic flyby.

On the left, Ultima Thule is imaged by New Horizons at the start of December 2018, from a distance of 38.7 million kilometres. This will provide insight about what it was like as our solar system was forming 4.5 billion years ago and how small planets like Pluto formed.

Stern called it an auspicious beginning to 2019, which will mark the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's footsteps on the moon in July 1969. He asked if I could come up with a theme for Ultima Thule which could be played as the NH probe reached this new destination. This configuration limits the spacecraft's communication with Earth, commanding it to quickly address any technical issues on its own, then get back to science. Traveling at 31,500 miles per hour, the spacecraft could easily be knocked out by a rice-size particle.

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It leaves the Reds seven points clear at the top of the Premier League table with Arsenal in fifth. That's what I definitely do", he added.

"I can't promise you success".

"The fact that we don't know anything about this makes it the most desirable object possible", said May. "By tomorrow, we'll know how we did". But, New Horizon's journey was to continue.

The risk added to the excitement.

Fans can watch Ultima Thule flyby events live on NASATV and John Hopkins APL.

After closely studying the asteroid for several weeks, Osiris-Rex fired its thrusters to bring it into orbit around Bennu at 7.43pm United Kingdom time on New Year's Eve.

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Despite the government shutdown, several NASA scientists and other employees showed up at Johns Hopkins as private citizens, unwilling to miss history in the making. It could be that the object rotates with its polar axis pointing towards Earth and New Horizons, so we don't see any noticeable change.

But the new target is so far away and so faint that NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was the only instrument that could see it. The spacecraft will not be in contact with Earth during close approach but is programmed to send a signal home on the morning of January 1 to indicate its health and whether it recorded all the expected data. The processed image on the right confirms the object's elongated shape.

The probe flew by the rock during a mission to gather information about the creation of the solar system. We will only know what Ultima Thule's surface looks like once New Horizons has sent back the first pictures after it has flown by, although based on observations of similar-sized Solar System objects, it will nearly certainly display impact craters And this is what is really exciting - We will get a chance to study the earliest history of the solar system and its planets.

Its official name is a bunch of numbers, 485968, so it goes by the Latin nickname Ultima Thule, which means "beyond the known world".

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Guatemala's Foreign Ministry in a statement Tuesday also asked for an investigation and access to the boy's medical records. The father and son were not identified, and the agency said it will release more details "as available and appropriate".

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