Over the last few days at NASA, everyone was eagerly waiting for the day when NASAs spacecraft would fly past the distant rock that is present in the outer reaches of the Solar System i.e. the Kuiper Belt. As it was slated the spacecraft New Horizon flew past the tiny rock Ultima Thule in the early hours of 1st January 2019. Well, while the whole world was ushering in the New Year, scientists’ at NASA ringed in the era of journey from the baffling Kuiper Belt, a region of primeval objects that holds key to understand the Solar System origin.
NASA got a critical signal from its most distant spacecraft on the morning of 1st January, asserting that the spacecraft had just flown by a tiny frozen rock that is present in the outer limit of the Solar System. Presently, located over 4 billion miles away from Earth, the space probe has now passed swiftly the most faraway and most pristine object that could have been visited by humanity.
Alice Bowman, who is the operation manager for the New Horizons mission, stated that they have achieved the most distant fly-past.
In order to make this historic flyby, over 10 years went by. Project which started in the year 2006, New Horizons efficiently moved past Pluto in 2015. Hence, it became the first mission to ever reach the dwarf planet. However, since that fly-past, New Horizons has increased its speed through the Solar System so that it can meet up the new object, touted Ultima Thule.
While flying past the Ultima Thule, New Horizon tried to gather as much information as it could. As the space probe, New Horizons was fitted with seven science instruments; it could click pictures, studied the temperature of the surface, as well as worked on the surface of the spacecraft.
Hopefully, with all this gathered data scientists would be able to learn more about this strange rock, present in the Kuiper Belt, which hasn’t been examined so closely ever before. The spacecraft team would be receiving the first high-resolution image of Ultima Thule from the flypast during the late hours of 1st January and they will disclose the picture to the public on 2nd January.