Three years ago, we saw a terrific look at the close pictures of Pluto's NASA nuclear New Horizons captured by the nuclear space. Now, the space ship is flying through a far more remote world.
Ultima Thule is more than 1.6 million kilometers in Pluto's Kuiper circle: cosmic donut of small primitive objects.
There is no spacecraft ever exploring a remote Sun world, said Alan Stern, senior researcher at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder.
"We spent ten years traveling to this stunning speed of almost a million kilometers a day," said Dr Stern.
In this way, New Horizons is expected to spend last year at 4.30pm (AEDT) in New Year's Day.
What do we know about Ultima Thule?
Ultima Thule (ultima thoo-lee) – or 2014 officially known as MU69 – was discovered in 2014.
"Ultima is quite mysterious. We do not know much about its size and shape," said Dr Stern.
We know so far the silhouette captured by the telescope, such as the ice object in front of the Hubble Space Telescope.
"We specify a length of 30 kilometers from here, and looks like a figure of eight," said Dr Stern.
This suggests that Ultima Thule has two connected objects, one binary contact or two objects that are orbiting each other.
"We have taken images of Ultima Thule from August to August, but it is a brighter space that is brighter and brighter."
As New Horizons did at the beginning of December, long searches did not see any danger to the object, the ring, or the object's danger.
Ultima Thule's first touch will make it look like on December 31st, a piano-sized space ship when the earth is much farther than the moon.
Then, on January 1st, New Horizons will have a surface area of 50,000 kilometers per hour, with more than 3,500 kilometers of surface, three times closer.
On the ship, there are seven sets of instruments that will map the composition and topography of the object, search for temperature and atmospheric signals.
Traveling at the speed of light, the space ship's message takes more than six hours to make kilometers of 6 kilometers or more.
"On January 2, we will have a detailed image of maps on the ground, which will all happen very quickly," said Dr Stern.
Why explore the Kuiper Belt?
Ultima Thule is just a thousand objects called the Thyre Belt, among dwarves and comets.
The Kuiper Range extends approximately 4.5 billion miles from the Sun (Neptune) to 7.5 million kilometers from the Sun.
The first small object – 1992 The 1992 "Smiley" QB1 was discovered in 1992 in this region. More than 2,000 objects have been discovered since then.
Some of these worlds are plotted against Pluto, but most of the world are divided into more than hundreds of kilometers.
"We have a good understanding of these, many of them … the moon, some have rings," said Dr. Stern.
The small worlds are old capsules, which lasted 4.6 million years from the birth of the solar system.
"We know that Ultima Thule was born at a very high distance from the sun and it has always been in this region of the solar system."
At that distance, the temperature is frozen – almost absolute zero or -273 degrees.
"These temperatures, Ultima Thule formation, will have to last for a long period of time," said Dr Stern.
By crossing the hardest part of the region, New Horizons did not receive any details from previous Voyager missions.
The Nuclear Voyager in the 1990s went down and down below the Kuiper Belt but were "fortunately ignorant" of its existence.
"Voyagers also did not look at the Kuiper tape, not knowing what the Kuiper Belt had seen," Dr Stern said.
"And, of course, today's standards, a very primitive instrumentation based on the 70s."
"But with New Horizons there's never been an analysis of such objects with cameras and spectrometers and we're working with the gear."
What's up with Ultima Thule?
The airline will create enough data for scientists to continue working for years to come, Dr Stern said.
New Horizons' journey does not stop Ultima Thule. The group already has other Kuiper Belt objects in its views.
"The spacecraft is very healthy, it does not use its backup system, and it has more than 20 years of energy and fuel," said Dr Stern.
"There is a great future exploration of New Horizons".
Right now, the group is waiting to celebrate the New Year's Day.