On January 1, the New Horizon spacecraft received an image of a Kuiper belt object, named Ultima Thule (2014 MU69), at a distance of 6700 km
NASA's New Horizons mission shared the most detailed view of the Kuiper Belt object. We are talking about Ultima Thule, by which the spacecraft flew on January 1. The picture was taken when the device was at a distance of 6,700 km and 7 minutes before the closest approach. Due to the proximity and angle of light, it was possible to better understand how a celestial body looks.
The new image shows differences in the geological nature of the two “petals” of Ultima Thule. Better colors and higher resolution will appear next month. Due to this, they hope to answer a lot of exciting questions regarding the characteristics of a celestial body. This is the first photo showing some of the small craters (above). You can also notice a large depression on the cosmic rock (on the left - 7 km wide). In the photo, the white “gluing” line, installed at the junction of two rocks, is especially clearly seen.
Mission New Horizons circled Ultima Thule (2014 MU69) on January 1, 2019. But the spacecraft will take about 20 months to send the collected data to Earth. The probe is too far away and has to work with low power consumption.