In 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft visited Pluto and sent back home some astonishing pics and readings of the far-distant dwarf planet of our Solar System. But that wasn’t enough for NASA and its space probe, as it is not heading towards the mysterious icy object Ultima Thule, far beyond Pluto, in the Kuiper Belt.
In a press release from NASA, the US space agency announced that New Horizons spots Ultima Thule and is moving towards the object. NASA’s New Horizons managed to pinpoint the icy space body from about 100 million miles away by using its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager. Here is what the spacecraft saw:
The Kuiper Belt, the place where the weird Ultima Thule object resides, is an area of our Solar System, far beyond Neptun’s orbit, and is made of millions of small icy space bodies and tiny comets and other space rocks.
NASA’s New Horizons to approach the mysterious icy object Ultima Thule in January 2019
After analyzing 48 images taken by New Horizons earlier this month, in which the Kuiper Belt looked like a small dot in a multitude of dots, NASA engineers helped the spacecraft steer towards Ultima Thule to write a new chapter in the space exploration book.
According to NASA, the New Horizons probe will reach its current destination on January 1st, 2019, when the spacecraft is expected to be right next to Ultima Thule which is about 1 billion miles beyond Pluto. Also, the US space agency added, this achievement would be “the farthest exploration of any planetary body in history.”
NASA’s New Horizons mission on the mysterious icy object in the Kuiper Belt is set to shed some more light on its appearance and composition. According to the theories on Ultima Thule, the space body is either peanut-shaped or, in fact, there two objects are orbiting each other.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.