Ultima Thule, the mysterious space rock in the Kuiper Belt, has been found with traces of organic molecules and water on the surface.
Data from the snowman-shaped rock, the & # 39; furthest world ever explored & # 39; are collected from the New Horizons spacecraft and analyzed by NASA scientists.
The combination of chemicals found has been described as & # 39; very different from most icy objects previously investigated by spacecraft & # 39; and includes water and methanol.
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Ultima Thule, the mysterious snowman-shaped space rock in the Kuiper belt, has been found with traces of organic molecules and water on the surface. It is the furthest world ever explored by people
Ultima Thule, formally known as the 2014 MU69, is 4 billion miles away from Earth thanks its name to a medieval term for everywhere outside the known world.
& # 39; We are researching the well-preserved remains of the distant past & # 39 ;, said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute.
& # 39; There is no doubt that the discoveries made about Ultima Thule will promote theories about the formation of the solar system. & # 39;
The study was published in the journal Science and contributes to a growing number of studies that unleash the mysterious world.
The images used to make the invention were taken when the New Horizons spacecraft was only 4200 miles (6700 km) away from the target and showed sharper details of the rock surface, including several divots.
The NASA spacecraft first captured images of the dual-lobed space rock, more than a billion miles from Pluto, when it was reached on New Year's Day.
New Horizons spent more than a decade in the solar system since it was launched on January 19, 2006 and passed Pluto in 2015. New Horizons has so far drifted from planet Earth now that it takes six hours to reach us despite traveling with the speed of light
It will send the data to Earth for 20 months to shed light on how the solar system was created.
The project spent more than a decade in the solar system since it started on January 19, 2006 and passed Pluto in 2015.
& # 39; Ultima Thule will become the most primitive planetary object under investigation, and will reveal the conditions in this distant part of the solar system as it was formed by the solar nebula, & # 39; said NASA.
The probe is powered by a plutonium core, and when it reached Pluto, its sensors worked well, so NASA sent the probe on Ultima Thule.
Because of the original formation in the dust that is also the earth, scientists hope to find clues about how our planet came about.
Proof of the probe led NASA scientists to believe they have found new evidence of the mysterious & # 39; wall & # 39; that surrounds all planets and objects in our solar system.
This mysterious bubble marks the boundary between the solar system and interstellar space and offers a marker for the influence of the sun.
The project spent more than a decade in the solar system since it started on January 19, 2006 and passed Pluto in 2015 (photo)
According to the latest findings, the barrier is actually an enormous amount of trapped hydrogen atoms trapped in the solar wind of our star.
These produce waves of ultraviolet light in a very distinctive way, which are detected by the sensors onboard the New Horizons interplanetary space probe.
Ultima Thule revolves around the sun in a sparsely populated and energy-efficient environment known as the Kuiper Belt, a circumstellar disc in the outer solar system that extends from the orbit of Neptune.
Because it is so sparsely populated, the chance of a collision with other objects is extremely low, but experts say it probably originated at the start of the solar system and therefore collided with other rocks.
The principal investigator of Horizons, Professor Alan Stern, said: & # 39; all we will learn about Ultima – from composition to geology, to how it was originally composed, whether it has satellites and an atmosphere, and things like that – is going to teach us about the original formation conditions in the solar system that all other objects that we have gone outside and fly around, fly past and land cannot tell us because they are large and are evolving, or they are hot.
& # 39; Ultima is unique. & # 39;
WHERE IS NEW HORIZONS?
The spacecraft that gave us the first close-up images of Pluto now has a much smaller object in its sights.
New Horizons is now on its way to fly past a recently discovered, less than 30-mile-wide object on the border of the solar system.
The close encounter with what is known as the 2014 MU69 would take place in 2019. It circles nearly 1 billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto.
Nasa and the New Horizons team chose 2014 MU69 in August as the next potential target of New Horizons, hence the nickname PT-1. Just like Pluto, MU69 revolves around the sun in the frozen twilight zone known as the Kuiper Belt.
This NASA illustration shows the New Horizons spacecraft. The probe hit Pluto in 2015 and is on its way to 2014 MU69 for an attempt to fly by 2019 from the small, icy world on the edge of the solar system
MU69 is believed to be 10 times larger and 1,000 times more massive than average comets, including the one currently orbiting the European Rosetta spacecraft.
On the other hand, MU69 is barely 1 percent larger than Pluto and perhaps ten thousandths of the dwarf planet's mass. The new goal is, according to scientists, a good middle ground.
The spacecraft was recently approved for its extensive mission, allowing it to continue on its way to the object deeper into the Kuiper belt.
New Horizons is expected to adopt its approach to the old object on January 1, 2019.
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