'We've never seen something like this orbiting the sun': Scientists are puzzled by the shape of the most distant object ever explored

Business Insider | 1/1/2019 | Aylin Woodward, Dave Mosher
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NASA's New Horizons probe flew by a space rock called 2014 MU69, the most distant space object ever visited by humanity, on New Year's Day.

Also called Ultima Thule, the rock is more than 4 billion miles away.

Image - Sequence - Ultima - Thule - Reveals

The newest image sequence of Ultima Thule has reveals that the rock is not spherical, as scientists previously thought, but rather flat.

New Horizons captured hundreds of photos of the object, but it will take the probe up to 20 months to beam back all that data.

Species - Space - Rock - MU69 - Scientists

The most distant object our species has ever visited, a space rock called 2014 MU69, is less snowman-shaped than scientists previously thought.

NASA flew its New Horizons probe by the rock, which is nicknamed Ultima Thule and located 4 billion miles from Earth, on New Year's Day.

New - Horizons - Miles - MU69 - Speed

New Horizons flew within 2,200 miles of MU69, traveling at a speed of 32,200 mph. The flyby gave scientists the opportunity to collect photos and information about the rock that they hope will help solve some longstanding mysteries about the solar system's 4.5 billion years of history.

The first image the probe beamed back showed two reddish-colored spherical segments on top of each other, like a snowman. Subsequent data revealed that the object flips like a giant hourglass. But it will take about 20 months for New Horizons to send all of the images it captured back to Earth, and scientists' understanding of the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Business Insider
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