NASA said last week that in 2015, the first time that humanity visited Pluto, the New Horizons "went" to the spacecraft. Art still accelerates in our solar system. Now approaching its next target, a Kuiper Belt object has passed a billion miles beyond the edge of the Ultima Thule Pluto. NASA said that after a three-week search, no space barriers were found in spacecraft optimal wayno small ring, no potential danger. Thus, the New Horizons now optimally set out to meet Ultima Thule for January 1, 2019.
In the history of humanity, the longest planet will be the first to fly to the New Horizons.
Now we know that the path of the spacecraft can pass 2,200 miles (3,200 km) from Ultima Thule, which is a danger that can triple it three times. The last opportunity to maneuver the spacecraft over another trajectory was December 18.
Meanwhile, as the New Horizons approach the Ultima Thule (officially designated by 2014 MU69), the mission team is surprised by the light reflected in this object.
The Spacecraft takes hundreds of images to measure the brightness of Ultima, but these latest measurements come in 2017, as the Ultima Thule is surrounded by a star as seen from the Earth. The observation in 2017 can be Ultima Thule not one, two organs involved. If there are not two objects, the scientific group said in 2017, and then this can be Kuiper Belt's object Long distance shape.
Now, scientists are not sure what to think, because over the last three months, repeated observations did not reveal the radiant change they expect from two bodies or spinning long bodies. These radiant changes are called scientists light curve. Alan Stern, a senior researcher at the New Horizons, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), located in Boulder, Colorado, said:
I think that Ultima's first puzzle – why is there such a small light curve that we can not even detect? Soon, I'm waiting for detailed flyby pictures to give us more mystery, but I did not expect so much.
Ultima Thule's rotating pole has various possible interpretations that can be directed towards or near the spacecraft. Otherwise, Ultima Thule may be surrounded by a cloud of dust that hides its light and makes it difficult to read the observations. Anne Verbiscer, an assistant project expert at the University of Virginia's New Horizons, even offered a strange opportunity:
Ultima [may be] Covered with very small tumbling moons. If each month has its own light curve, it can create a whipped precedent of light creeps to look at the New Horizons, such as a small horizontal light curve like Ultima.
This explanation is also possible, adding that there is no parallels with all other organs of our solar system.
The New Horizons will turn Ultimate Thule's approach closer to January 1, 2019, at 05:33 UTC (UTC 12:33 UTC). Stern commented:
Spacecraft is now targeted to the optimum flyby, three times closer to the Pluto than we fly. Ultima, we're here!
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For more information, including the New Horizons Mission, Facts, Programs, Videos, and Photos, visit http://www.nasa.gov/newhorizons and http://pluto.jhuapl.edu.
Follow the New Horizons mission Twitter Use the # UltimaThule and # UltimaFlyby hashtags to join the conversation.
Live updates can also be found on the Facebook page of the mission.
Bottom Line: New Horizons spacecraft Ultima Thule is set to "go" on an optimal path for the encounter on January 1, 2019.
Here and here Johns Hopkins.