The higher resolution brings out a many surface features that weren’t readily apparent in earlier images. A billion miles beyond Pluto, the New Horizons spacecraft is just a few weeks out from a historic flyby of the Kuiper Belt object, 2014 MU69 – also known by the far more dramatic nickname, Ultima Thule. GeekWire’s coverage this week is underwritten by Ziply Fiber. The Minor Planet Center published the new name last week in its official circular and recognized the Powhatan Tribe’s connection to the Chesapeake Bay region, where the Space Telescope Science Institute and Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory are based. NASA: ICY OBJECT PAST PLUTO LOOKS LIKE REDDISH SNOWMAN. See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning. Amanda Barnett Jim Green finds out as he talks to the mission's Principal Investigator, Alan Stern. Their combination of high spatial resolution and a favorable viewing angle gives the team an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the surface, as well as the origin and evolution, of Ultima Thule, which is thought to be the most primitive object ever encountered by a spacecraft. Stern and the other scientists on the New Horizons team are now on the watch for yet another object in the solar system’s icy Kuiper Belt that could serve as a worthy target for a flyby. Initial data analysis has also uncovered no evidence of rings or satellites larger than 1 mile in diameter orbiting Ultima Thule. Get breaking space news and the latest updates on rocket launches, skywatching events and more! NASA Official: This image can be viewed with stereo glasses to reveal the Kuiper Belt object's three-dimensional shape. “That desire to learn is at the heart of the New Horizons mission, and we’re honored to join with the Powhatan community and people of Maryland in this celebration of discovery.”, Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, praised the choice of the name and said “we graciously accept this gift from the Powhatan people.”. Let us know. Email Tariq Malik at or follow him @tariqjmalik. "Bullseye!” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). The New Horizons spacecraft captured this view of Ultima Thule at 12:01 a.m. EST on Jan. 1 at a range of 18,000 miles showing features as small … NASA’s New Horizons team has created new stereo views of the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule – the target of the New Horizons spacecraft’s historic New Year’s 2019 flyby, four billion miles from Earth – and the images are as cool and captivating as they are scientifically valuable. 486958 Arrokoth, provisional designation 2014 MU69, is a trans-Neptunian object located in the Kuiper belt. And it's happening amid a partial government shutdown. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper. Ultima Thule in Sight! New Horizons Spacecraft on Target for Superclose Flyby of Ultima Thule NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will indeed get very close to the mysterious, distant object Ultima Thule on New Year's Day. ", "Reaching Ultima Thule from 4 billion miles away is an incredible achievement. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute New Horizons Beyond Pluto: What Lies in Ultima Thule's Realm? NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has completed its epic flyby of the most distant object ever explored, the recently-unveiled fossil from the beginning of the solar system, Ultima Thule. The most detailed images of Ultima Thule -- obtained just minutes before the spacecraft's closest approach at 12:33 a.m. EST on Jan. 1 -- have a resolution of about 110 feet (33 meters) per pixel. "New Horizons performed as planned today, conducting the farthest exploration of any world in history — 4 billion miles from the Sun," said Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Over 280,000 people receive our email newsletter. You need great capacity, SENIOR DATA SCIENTIST/ MACHINE LEARNING ENGINEER, Sign-up for a Free Product Tour of NetSuite. 'It's Going to Be Historic': New Horizons Team Prepares for Epic Flyby of Ultima Thule In less than 10 weeks, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will explore the most distant target ever visited by a spacecraft. New Horizons Probe's Next Flyby Target Has at Least One Moon, New Horizons Probe Wakes from 5-Month Slumber. New Horizons is nearly 4.13 billion miles (6.64 billion kilometers) from Earth; at that distance, radio signals, traveling at light speed, reach the large antennas of NASA’s Deep Space Network six hours and nine minutes after New Horizons sends them. Perseverance has about 146 million miles (235 million kilometers) left to reach its destination. Kate Mulgrew of 'Star Trek: Voyager' crashes Captain Janeway statue celebration via Zoom, In the hunt for Planet Nine, astronomers eye a new search technique for the elusive world, Astronauts to offer stories, signatures and spirits at virtual Space Rendezvous, Pictures from space! "This flyby marks a first for all of us — APL, NASA, the nation and the world — and it is a great credit to the bold team of scientists and engineers who brought us to this point. Ultima Thule in Pictures: Flyby Views of 2014 MU69 by New Horizons, Ultima Thule AKA 014 MU69: Next Target for New Horizons, Destination Pluto and Beyond: NASA's New Horizons Mission in Pictures, How NASA's New Horizons Mission to Pluto Works, Solar System Explained From the Inside Out, 'Meet Ultima Thule': 1st Color Photo of New Horizons Target Reveals a Red 'Snowman'. New Horizons Probe Snaps New Photo of Its Target NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has beamed home another glimpse of the distant, icy body it will zoom past just three weeks from now. Phillips Davis CHINESE ROVER LEAVES TRACKS ON FAR SIDE OF THE MOON, Data transmission from the spacecraft will pause for about a week as the spacecraft passes behind the Sun, scientists said Thursday. And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: All rights reserved. Have a scoop that you'd like GeekWire to cover? These new images of Ultima Thule – obtained by the telephoto Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) just six-and-a-half minutes before New Horizons’ closest approach to the object (officially named 2014 MU69) at 12:33 a.m. EST on Jan. 1, 2019 – offer a resolution of … In addition to being the first to explore Pluto, today New Horizons flew by the most distant object ever visited by a spacecraft and became the first to directly explore an object that holds remnants from the birth of our solar system," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. Kristen Erickson Since Tuesday's close approach, New Horizons is already more than 3 million miles deeper into that mysterious region. Here's What to Expect. The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland designed and built New Horizons and is managing the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Experience New Horizons' Encounter with a New World using Mobile Apps At 12:33 a.m. EST on Jan. 1, 2019, a robotic emissary of humankind will fly past a never-seen-before world in the outer solar system. "Congratulations to NASA's New Horizons team, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and the Southwest Research Institute for making … Meet Ultima Thule | In Photos | New Horizons Explained | Pluto Flyby. Before making the proposal, the scientists won the consent of elders and representatives of the Powhatan Tribe — which is best-known as the home tribe for Pocahontas in the 17th century. New Horizons Probe Wakes from 5-Month Slumber NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is zooming through the outer solar system with its eyes open once again. NASA's New Horizons Spies Elongated Target Ultima Thule Ahead of Flyby The latest New Horizons image of the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule reveals its elongated shape. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, © To give the all-clear, the team used the craft's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), which would have picked up any moon more than about 2 miles (3.2 km) wide or dusty rings reflecting as little as five 10-millionths of the sunlight hitting them. Receive mail from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors? New Horizons Team Aims to Get One Last Look at Flyby Target The handlers of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft are gearing up for one last shadow-chasing adventure. Ultima Thule in Sight! Here's What to Expect. New Horizons’ far-out findings from solar system’s Kuiper Belt turn into a cover story, How a space snowman called Arrokoth is shedding new light on planetary origins, Five years after Pluto encounter, New Horizons probe does a far-out parallax experiment, Year in Science: Revisit a black hole and other sights that weren’t seen before 2019, Here’s how much Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made in total compensation during fiscal year 2020, Follow-up: After AOC’s Twitch stream, ‘Among Us’ hit with massive pro-Trump spam attack. For the 22-mile-long, two-lobed object formerly known as 2014 MU69, those would be the scientists of the New Horizons team, who identified it in 2014 using the Hubble Space Telescope. The mission team called it a "stretch goal" – just before closest approach, precisely pointing the cameras on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft to snap the sharpest possible pictures of the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule, its New Year's flyby target and the farthest object ever explored. 8 in global ranking of best universities; computer science among top subjects, Supreme Court hears Microsoft case challenging Trump’s decision to terminate DACA, FlixBus arrives in Northwest with $9.99 trip from Seattle to Portland — and plans for electric vehicles, LeoStella takes on assembly role for NorthStar’s space traffic-monitoring satellites, Health experts weigh in on what we’ll have to do to get through a winter of COVID-19, Microsoft Teams hits 115M users — here’s why Satya Nadella is excited about the platform, Microsoft cruises past expectations for fiscal Q1, revenue up 12% to $37.2B, profits up 30%, Zillow cuts 80 Zillow Offers jobs, adjusting its approach in field offices as it eyes expansion, T-Mobile revamps TVision service with live sports and news for $40/month, unveils $50 HUB device, Microsoft earnings preview: All eyes on Azure growth as tech giant reports its fiscal first quarter, Amazon to add another 100k seasonal positions, preparing for holidays in midst of pandemic, Tech in 2020 and beyond: What we’ve learned at the GeekWire Summit, and what to expect this week, Shares of F5 Networks jump 5% as focus on cloud software and services continues to fuel growth, Seattle startup Membrion creating spray coating to help cloth masks better guard against coronavirus, Tech Moves: UW announces director for new DoD program; Microsoft vet joins EQT; and more, Fresh studies boost hopes for water on the moon — and for Jeff Bezos’ lunar vision, Scholars tracking social media see efforts to delegitimize election, imperiling democracy, Week in Review: Most popular stories on GeekWire for the week of Oct. 18, 2020, NASA’s Boeing-built moon rovers are granted Washington state landmark status, CEO of Washington STEM on finding inspiration in Christmas trees and a microbiology fail, Expedia Group’s CEO on the future of travel, and why big cities will someday ‘come roaring back’, UW researcher put tiny tracking technology on giant hornets to help state deal with murderous pest, He moved to Seattle a year ago and has already built a tool to help local businesses battle Amazon, Wizards of the Coast in court: ‘Dragonlance’ authors file suit over rights to classic ‘D&D’ franchise, Look who’s Arrived: Tech vets launch Seattle real estate startup to crowdfund rental home investing, Amazon extends remote work policy for office employees to June 2021, Former Windows chief Terry Myerson is building a health care data startup called Truveta, AOC helps set Twitch record for ‘Among Us,’ the viral game developed by a tiny Seattle-area studio, Seattle-area engineer pleads guilty for scheme to defraud COVID-19 relief programs, Led by e-commerce vets, stealthy startup Fabric raises $9.5M to help brands compete with Amazon, Expedia Group CEO on Google antitrust case: ‘Very pleased to see the government finally taking action’, WFH tips from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: Regular breaks, short meetings, and other advice, Q&A with former Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff on his new SPAC that just raised $350M, Amazon employees protest at Seattle HQ to ask for paid time off so workers can vote, identified it in 2014 using the Hubble Space Telescope, published the new name last week in its official circular, adopted by Nazis and other right-wing extremists.

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