The way, the way In the cold and dark dark of the solar system, massive giant planets, far beyond giant gas, plunder far more than a million thousand times huge ice creams into mysterious worlds, scientists are still not sure if one or two worlds are.
Astronomers call it Ultima Thule, an old cartography term called "beyond the world known". His name refers to the position of the Ring of the Kuiper, according to millions of millions of millions of unexplored millions of our "zone of the earth" in our solar system.
There are also some, since Kuiper Belt has never seen the object. Two of the NASA's Voyager probes, which had been crossing the third zone at about seventy years ago, were equipped with the right tools, the Kuiper Belt was not yet found. For the New Years Eve, NASA will be able to for a long time have the rocks of these enigmatic spaces.
At 9:33 a.m., PST, after 33 minutes in the East Coast, after a 33-minute night, the New Horizons circuit will make a close passport for Ultima Thule to make it the most remote object visited by a spacecraft.
Astronomers almost do not know what's waiting for. "What will it look like? Nobody knows, what will he do? Nobody knows. He has rings? Moon? It's a hobby. Nobody knows. But we'll open it a few days later, we'll look at the box, and know," says Alan Stern, .
New Horizons has traveled 13 years and 4 million to reach this point, and the probe seems beautiful: planning missions have confirmed earlier this month that Ultima Thule will be 2,200 kilometers after defining large objects. The moon and smaller ones, like dust, were hardly a threat to the space ship over 31,000 kilometers per hour. ("When you travel, you can destroy the nuclear power of a specimen of a grain of rice," says Hal Weaver, mission scientist of the project.)
The New Horizons route will approach three times more than Pluton than Ultima Thule. In the end, New Horizons came up with photos of New Horizons. external solar system. For its proximity, the images that the collection of Ultima Thule collects will be even more detailed and more than one million million in space. "Pluto's doors are shut down," says Nicholas Stern, "but for now we're much more wilder and wider."
Stern and his team discovered the object in 2014, using the Hubble Space Telescope, after finding a short encounter with Pluton to find the sky in New Horizons. In the first images, it was just an Ultima pixel block in a few minutes against unmatched coordinates.
In newer images, trapped by New Horizons & Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, the object is stuck in a sea that is much brighter. "When you're searched, it looks like stars as stars," says Amanda Zangari, planetary scientist, to bring Ultima Thuli's position and brightness into action. "To see Darn thing, you need to stack several images, tell them the distortion between them and remove the stars." Pluto's diameter 1/100 and 1 / 10,000 shine, Ultima Thule makes more quarries than the old planet.
Using notes, Thule (the 2014 official designation MU69) has determined that the group has two separate objects that are close to each other, or that they associate a pair of body-members together. astronomers have called a binary contact. In any case, the data is only suggested by Ultima 20 kilometers in diameter, dark reddish dirt and New Horizons' fuel supply.
There are many reasons too old. What is the reason why astronomers want to learn it closely?
The objects like the Ultima Thule like the Kuiper Belt are thought to be traces of the fall of the solar system. 4.600 million years ago, some cosmological waves that some of the planet's planetary remains. This makes it an astronomical destination. Many of these objects are not ancient, astronomers also believe that they are closer to absolute zero. (Far Ultima Thule has been far removed from the Sun's warming rays, as our parents would look at the surface of Jupiter's size on the ground). The plan for visiting NASA, mapping its functions, studying make-up, perceiving its environment (if any), and finding satellites and rings is more than a flyby mission. The archaeological and consequent expedition of the cosmic scale.
New Horizons will study Ultima on the Pluto system with the same set of tools learned in 2015. The trio of optical devices will bring together the black and white images of the colored object, mapping the composition and topography, and searching for the gas generated on its surface. Both Spectrometers should also search for charged particles around Ultima Thule; a radio-science tool will measure its surface temperature; and an ashtray contains waste of contradiction. Fully loaded, the piano-sized test weighs 1,000 kilograms and requires more than a couple of 100-watt bulbs to operate its equipment.
After the New Years Eve wind, New Horizons will continue its way through the Kuiper Belt. But the third zone is wide. Although traveling almost nine thousand seconds, a spacecraft will take a decade to cross it and enter space spaces. Stern and his colleagues will spend more time on achieving another goal than Ultima Thule could have been looking for far more from the sun, and perhaps even more mysteries. The future of the New Horizons team is amazing. "If you do not know about a place to visit," says Weaver. "That's the best exploration."
More information about the New Horizons mission
- In 2015, New Horizons passed through Pluto, astronomers gave the closest glance to the planet and its moons.
- The NASA probe traveled 3 million miles to reach Pluto. Thousands of million have traveled to reach Ultima Thule.
- How does New Horizons perform all its observations in Earth, when it is so far away? Very slowly