This is the most detailed view of a remote 2014 space object MU69 (Ultima Thule). Before you is a processed composition of 9 individual frames made by the New Horizons NASA ship just 6.5 minutes before the approach on January 1, 2019
Here is one of the best photos of 2014 MU69. In the New Year, the NASA spacecraft New Horizons flew past a remote object, setting a record for the most distant planetary encounter in history (2014 MU69 is 1.6 km distant from Pluto).
The device transmits images and data to the team and will continue to do this for another 18 months. Early information was surprising, because the object seemed a strange hybrid of a snowman and a pancake with mysterious formations. Now got a better look.
New pictures, published on February 22, show more details of 2014 MU69, such as bright round elements and dark holes, whose origin still remains a mystery. These can be craters, examples of sublimation, collapse, or something completely different. New photos reach a resolution of 33 m per pixel. The team says that these are the highest quality pictures taken by the New Horizons ship during the entire flight. Only 6.5 minutes were spent on the survey, when the device was located at a distance of 6628 km from 2014 MU69 and 6.6 billion km from the Earth.
No one could precisely guarantee that it would be possible to examine the object in such detail. And for the shooting itself, it was necessary to know exactly where the spacecraft and the celestial body are when they flew against each other at a speed of 51,500 km / h.
The New Horizons apparatus was launched in January 2006 in order to carefully examine Pluto, about which little has been known since its discovery in 1930. The 2014 flyby of MU69 is the central goal of the expanded mission, which will last until 2021. The ship functions perfectly, so it can even choose a new target to explore.