STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS & PERMISSION-USED
After three years and a million Thousands of Pluto, NASA's New Horizons Surveillance is at least a milestone milestone: the 2014 Annual Anniversary with the small body named MU69. Thule – "beyond the world" – a NASA-based competition.
Like Pluto, Ultima Thule (a remote Thule) is the name of a remote Kuiper ring, a planet beyond the planet of nanoparticles and 4.6 million years of ice from the birth of a solar system.
The Telescope Hubble Space Telescope is more than just a light source, Ultima Thule will focus on remote objects, and decades will be suspended.
Over time, New Horizons will have an average speed of 32,000 mph, nearly nine seconds in length, at 12:33 a day on New Year, while the 2,200-mile surface of Ultima Thule is not yet visible.
Four hours later, the spacecraft will set an antenna dish to the Earth to confirm a successful encounter. After a few hours, first-rate high-priority images and other data will be returned to the indoor solar system.
"Throughout the group, people are ready to play, we can not wait to explore," said Alan Stern New Horizons, chief researcher on Friday. "It's been three years since (since Pluto flyby), we have worked so hard, people are ready to see and see the birth of our solar system."
Ultima Thule covers 4.1 billion miles in the Earth, it will take radio signals for a journey of 186,000 miles per hour, six hours, seven minutes, and 58 seconds to cross the Gulf at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Baltimore. The first high resolution image will be on January 2.
Despite the extinction of the ongoing government, the public is able to continue in the NASA satellite television channel. However, the New Applied Physics Laboratory that builds and works by NASA New Horizons plans to send images and other information published on the YouTube channel of the laboratory.
Handwritten pictures and other high-priority data are expected to be released by New Horizons before the Earth before Earth on the 4th of January, without interruption temporarily interrupted. But when the downlink is recovered, it will take around 20 months to get the whole treasure of the Earth.
For this reason, the New Horizons transmitter transmitter and NASA's world-wide Deep Space Network satellites were used to communicate with the spacecraft that was used during the solar system during the solar system.
Scientists invite you to explore the horrible cloud of rocky wrecks that combine the solar system to complete, it's worth a long wait.
"Everything we have visited earlier has warmed up for a few moments," said Stern in an interview this month. "Asteroids near the sun in the orbit, comets … they were cold, but we visited comets near the Earth's orbit, when it's hot, it causes hot chemicals that cause heat, drives surface processes, etc. They produce evolution."
Ultima Thule said that "any of these things is completely unmarked." It is classified as "cold class", that is, the body of the Kuiper ring that is almost circular in an almost circular little orbit of the sun's plane. system planets Most of the Kuiper-ring bodies that make up the near-solar material were driven by far-reaching interaction gravity.
But not cold classics and Ultima Thule.
"It's about four billion miles from the sun, it's always been there, the temperature is almost absolute," Stern said. "I do not believe that any object that we have ever seen has remained intact, so this is really a time capsule, this is a scientific value."
New Horizons over Ultima Thule flew over Pluto more than twice, Stern said, "so the images will be much more accurate."
"We know how to build this thing, how much is developed, what we have done, if we have an atmosphere, have a moon, have rings, we will take the temperature. We want to measure its radar reflectivity, we can find out where the reflection is on the edge," he said. .
"All of these things and more, because we do not take the images," he added. "We map the surface of it, we color it, and we also map it to the standard stereo, so we have a topography everywhere. We will not determine its composition, but we will map it from one place to another, if you see it everywhere or if it builds smaller building buildings."
The meeting has five main objectives: Ultima Thule geology, characterization of morphology and topology; surface color and shape mapping; to determine its structure; satellites and rings; and look for a type of comma or atmosphere.
"Ultima Thule could be a very crater, it could be very injured or old flows and could be very old," said Carey Lissak, assistant scientist at New Horizons Science. "We do not know. We do not know until reaching January. I was surprised."
Almost 13 years ago, in January 2006, New Horizons lasted in February 2007 in Jupiter, using a giant planet to test its tools and, most importantly, to go on a fast-paced route to Pluton with its gravity.
However, moving more than 100 times faster than a passenger plane, it was still eight months ahead of its mission in July 2015, about 7.800 million kilometers, collecting close-ups and gathering data on the famous dwarf planetary solar system.
While Pluton encounter was the first goal in the space, the mission's managers knew that they would leave above propulsion and maintain its nuclear power supply for 2020. Before the Pluto flyby, the team called for Hubble space telescope observation, which is looking for possible options for Pluto in the past to get to New Horizons' route.
Hubble discovered Ultima Thule on images taken on June 26, 2014. Catalog of the MU69 2014 and the small planet was distributed with number 485968. Orbit analysis New Horizons achieved the direct maneuvering of the Pluto route.
After the Pluto meeting ended, the NASA executives approved the extension of the mission. Sutegi was carefully planned, ending the course of New Horizons to end the encounter with Ultima Thule.
New Horizons did not find its quarries this year in Aug. Up to 15, more than 100 million kilometers distant. The light was invisible light, and it will be heavier than the light of light until Monday before the flyby.
However, scientists must at least have an idea that they expect when they reach New Horizons. Based on oceanographic observations, Ultima Thule faced a ground star from the Earth's point of view, the researchers believe that this target is about 17 miles long. The two lobes that are close to orbit can be made up of two bodies, that is, the so-called "binary connected".
Researchers know that Ultima Thule receives only about 0.05% of the Earth's sun and knows that it is reddish. But they still do not know their precise dimension, any ring, moon or any other clue.
"We really do not have the idea what to expect," Stern told planetary scientists in a speech in October. "We have only found in 2014 the Hubble Space Telescope, working with the full limit of its potential abilities, we can learn enough about its orbit to capture and achieve the goal, but it seems we know very little."
Everything that is known will happen very quickly. Ultima Thule's small size New Horizons cameras are not found before the conversation.
On Sunday, for example, the best photos will have a resolution of around 6.2 million per pixel for each image element, and Ultima Thule will measure two or three pixels. New Year's Eve, the resolution will be 3.4 kilometers per pixel and the body will measure between five and six months.
But on New Year's Eve, the resolution will improve by 1,000 feet per pixel and then 500 pixels along the Ultima Thule 215 pixel extension.
"While we passed Pluto while passing Ultima, Pluton is similar to Pluton," Stern said. "So, in ten weeks we came out on Pluto, we talked about the disk, as well as the Hubble Space Telescope, and we saw more detail every week.
"But the Ultima 10 week is just a remote point, and we will go as far as the distance, literally, until the flyby is fixed before. After the weather, we will have high resolution images, we expect better resolutions than the best Pluto images, so it will be quick. "
New Horizons has six main tools: Alice, a Ralph Spectrometer Light, a Remote Analysis Imager – LORRI – An 8-inch telescope, a solar wind particle detector, an energetic particle spectrometer and a built-in ashtray.
In addition, the radio system has short circuits and can analyze the specific changes caused by the signals passing through the atmosphere.
The data is stored through redundant state recorders of eight gigabytes and will send the Earth X-band transmitter using an 83-inch wide dish antenna. Data transmission rates will be a bit better at 1,000 bits per second.
Stern says that the challenge in New Horizons than Pluto is more difficult.
"This is more difficult for a variety of reasons. First, it's smaller and faster, so it's harder to keep track of it, the home is more difficult," he said. "It's 100 times smaller, it's 10,000 times weaker. Second, every year, the nuclear power plant generates less energy, so nowadays, we have to manage better the tools and the aviation, the more we have to manage our power more carefully."
After thirteen years, the only thermoelectric radio station of the spacecraft, or RTG, produces just 190 watts of power, approximately three standardized bulbs.
In addition, the team of scientists does not know what to expect, New Horizons will make a detailed search on Ultima Thule, looking at the moon or other features, so that "there will be many images of pure sky just when we try to handle the whole area, the moon will arrive late we are. "
After four hours, the communications with New Horizons will be suspended as a spacecraft moving from the Earth perspective to the sun. The science team has produced first-class data to ensure the high resolution image of Ultima Thule.
"This may appear faster than anything else we've done in New Horizons," said Stern. "Basically, it's a nightmare conversion from the real-world to the night-time. And I think it's amazing, first January January, when the first images are being recharged, it's amazing! Not only scientifically. I think it's amazing what people can see and think about. it will be. "
When New Horizons asked for a third Kuiper Belt, Stern said that his team would be directed to Ultima Thule in the short term. But after the conclusion of the meeting, "Flyby is looking for another purpose. I can not say that anyone, either you or NASA, can find one (but): there is nothing that my team wants to get a second."
Editor's Note: Parts of this story have originally been published in the Astronomy magazine and are used here with permission.