It is a solitary place outside the solar system. But a little sized rock in the city will be a little less noticeable New Year's Eve, a spacecraft sent over a decade ago wants to visit.
Ultima Thule is a lonely rock and is the goal of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft. Pluto was passed in July of 2015. If you follow the whole plan, the historic flyby will be on January 1, 2019. "This is one of the most distant explorations of the history world," says Alan Stern, senior scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Texas, Texas. "This will be really a record setting."
The 6.6-mile-long distance of the Sun (4.1 billion) is located in the outer area of Ultima Sun, known as the Kuiper ring, with amazing falls and ice cream. planetary solar system. It's a special one, however, because we believe it was created there.
The other objects of the Ring of the Kuiper, 30 and 50 times, extend the Earth's Solar Distances (30 and 50 Astronomical Units or UA) before the planet moves the nearest giants before moving further. But as it originates on the ring, Ultima is likely to be a piece of pristine material with more than 4 million years of sunbathing. It is hidden in mystery, however, due to its small distance and size. We know very little from the remote telescope views and most of the data from stellar events that passed through the distant stars and placed shadows on the Earth.
The object is red color. We know about about 30 kilometers (about 19 kilometers), and we know that it is a reflection of around ten percent that is similar to dirt in your garden. "Really about that," Stern says. "Compared with Pluto, this is an open book".
Lastly, Pluto was more than 1.6 million kilometers (billion billion), in August 2015 as the next target of New Horizons. In the year 2014, MU69 was finally named Ultima Thule, beyond the boundaries of the world's most famous. New Horizons forecasts nearest 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles), three times closer to Pluton. It can increase 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles), however, if a group collects some hazardous waste in the area when running on the fly.
At any distance, the spacecraft will use its seven tools and camera set to analyze the predefined routine object, such as 50,700 kilometers (31,500 miles) per hour.
Ultima Thule is one of the most interesting questions in the world. We believe it to be binary rather than two objects, but it is not clear how these two objects are orbiting. The latter is called a binary contact, similar to the Comet 67P, which orbits the spacecraft in the ESA Rosetta 2014, although Ultima is 1,000 times massive.
We will also see the amounts of Ultima. We do not know how to rotate quickly, but this rotational speed will brighten the amount of the sun into the past New Horizons zips. With Pluton's 6.4 day rotation speed, we could see a half-illuminated Sunburn through the flyby. "If they are just a few hours, that's why we have a pretty good image," Stern says. "If it's a slow rotator, say one or more days, we'll go from one side to the other, and we will never know about the other side."
The closest approximation of the object is highlighted at 05:33 GMT on January 2. However, the actions begin on December 31, when the crude image of the object is obtained more than six million half. thousand away. This will be enough to show the appearance of the Ultimate. At night on January 1 we will get an image of 10,000 pixels. On January 2 it will be about 40,000 pixels. And later, in 2019, when downloading the main data, we will have a high resolution megapixel image.
With 12 hours of communication between the Earth and the space unit, the team prioritizes the priority of the data sent by mission's main science goals. It will receive data from about 50 Gb from Earth over 20 months from the Earth, compared to Pluton flyby, with the latest data collected in September 2020.
Group 1 data, most important, will be first. This adds to the images of Ultima Thule's surface, whose surface composition and orbiting small moon or rings. The data in group 2, that is, to measure the temperature of the object and look for any sign of the atmosphere, will be next. Group 3 data will be reached.
Upon coming up with the latest data, there will be more excitement. After September 2020, according to the amount of fuel, the team will explore the possibility of visiting another object of the Ring of the Kuiper. New Horizons will not leave until 2028 this region until 2038.
Before all, however, all the attention is Ultima Thule. And the team hopes that their work is hard. "We have put our heart and soul into testing and testing," says Stern. "But there's no backbone. There's no turning back and there's no return. It's just New Horizons."
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