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New Horizons fly on the eve, Ultima Thule still retains on its mysteries – Spaceflight Now

This image shows the first MU69 ("Ultima Thule" first detection), the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) resolution mode ("1 × 1") on the New Horizons spacecraft. Three separate images, each with a time of 0.5 seconds exposure, were combined to create the image that appears here. All three images were taken on December 24, 2018. Credit: NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute

LAUREL, Maryland – NASA's New Horizons nuclear space, Land Ultima Thule 4.1 billion miles (6.6 billion miles) of frozen ice, basic data on urban sized objects continue to be sidelined by scientists on Sunday. Looking at the data and imagery that the world's explored world has to hide in the solar system.

Over 20 million (30 kilometers) long, the Ultima Thule – 2014 officially named MU69 – is a million kilometers away from Pluto, visiting the last World New Horizons. It's a reddish color and scientists have had a clear focus on objects found in 2014.

Above all, Ultima Thule looks like scientists and space enthusiasts. This will happen to the New Horizons space shot in black and white and colored cameras on Tuesdays and Wednesdays with Earth.

"We do not know anything about the MU69," said Alan Stern, senior researcher at New Horizons Southwest Institute. "We have never been, in the history of space flows, to the lesser extent we know, and it is obvious that we know a lot about it.

"I can not say more than five events today," Stern told reporters on Sunday. "We know her orbit, we know her color, we know her shape and her visibility a little bit. We can not get the lapse of time. I thought we had 10 weeks ago."

Scientists knew that Ultima Thule would only reveal secrets for the last days, or times, flyby, still unanswered questions that the partners of New Horizons wanted to go to the creative side.

"Our team has invented small clay images based on what we have here," said Hal Weaver, the New Horizons project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where New Horizons was built and the headquarters of the mission control center.

However, scientists believe they have begun to see some details.

Ultima Thule has resolved LORRI's imagery camera at the New Horizons, which until now has considered the object as a point of light: the single pixel camera view. This will quickly change the probing speed to 32,000 mph (14 kilometers per second).

The goal is almost 2 pixels, but this is not enough to solve the shape.

"How fast is it rotating? Hours, ten hours or days?" Weaver said.

"There is an indication, some tips, maybe that's a swift," Weaver said. "The crunch that we have compulsorily suggests is that it rotates quite quickly, but whether we go up or down in the group."

New Horizons project scientist Hal Weaver talks about Sunday at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

If Ultima Thule quickly accelerates, it would be good news for the researchers waiting for the first look at this primitive world. A fast rotator would show New Horizons more surface over the flyby.

One of the most mysterious approaches of the latest Thule was that New Horizons did not have to change the object's clarity or brilliance.

Scientists were expecting that Ultima Thule was turning dimming and brightening, New Horizons did not detect changes.

"When we got to the ground, we began to look at the system, from the middle of September, when we called the current light curve, which allows us to see information about the variation of Ultima Thule," Weaver said.

"We objected systematically to these observations of a model of Ultima Thule, but repeatedly and the observations were completely flat.

"So it is possible that the rotation is pointing to us, something that is not very common … It could be anywhere in space – the rotation pulley – but the signal with us is an unusual situation," Weaver says.

"So it may be very long, that is, because we believe that they are hidden structural measures," said Ultima Thule, who sketched the light of a backdrop star on the ground, shed some limits on the shape and size.

Cathy Olkin, a science project filmmaker from the Southwest Research Institute, agreed.

"I think I think they've seen a clear sign" on either long or two lobes "based on concealment results … We will not see that figure," said Olkin.

"I think we are looking for the object we are looking for, so we do not see the light curve of this object. We do not change the light in the course of time."

Scientists believe that Ultima Thule was reliant on the solar system 4,600 million years ago, a type of object known as "cold classic", where it was almost an orbit. The discovery will open a new window in order to explain how births and evolutions of all planetary systems are in place, said Jason Kalirai, APL's civil space mission.

"Science is completely scientific progress," said Kalirai, astrophysicist.

Weaver has encountered New Year's encounter with Ultima Thule is a temporary event for most of the New Horizons group to prepare a space mission and travel to the Earth's Kuiper Circle.

On January 19, 2006, Cape Canaveral released New Horizons, which received gravitational assistance from Jupiter on February 28, 2007 and reached Pluton on July 14, 2015. Pluto, a hangman called Kuiper ring, a icy primordial ring that extends across Neptune's orbit.

Pluton is the best-known object of the Kuiper Belt, where scientists believe that it is the origin of short comets.

The Kuiper circle is called the "third zone" of our solar system, the Earth's planets (inner field) and giant gas (central). This vast region has millions of objects, such as comets, dwarfed Pluto and "planetesimals" like Ultima Thule. The objects in this region are frozen in time, the relics that formed the solar system. Credit: NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute

"There's nothing more like doing anything in the books," said Weaver.

"I do not think they will survive the cold object of the next black Kuiper circle, so we are looking forward, in this sense, it is the limit of the planetary sciences … As civilization, we will enter into this third area of ​​the solar system, even when it was not until the 1990s find it ".

Scientists have also opened Loza handbags, pillows and an outer store at the Johns Hopkins University Laboratory at the University of Maryland, Laurel, as part of New Horizons Ultima Thule.

Alice Bowman, director of the New Horizons mission's mission, said he was working on Sunday 3 weeks to prepare the latest update of the navigation update and prepare "boat upgrade" for "knowledge update".

The updates and image sequences of the seconds of 2 seconds have changed, but it is enough that some adjustments may be needed to find a camera and sensors for a meeting of Ultima Thule. .

"This last day has probably been for us," Bowman said.

"It takes everything we need, we're in exploration and we're happy that night," he said.

New Horizons is a direct encounter with Ultima Thule and Bowman tweeted Sunday night that "some kind of knowledge update" was successfully received after 6 hours and 8 minutes to reach 186,000 mph or 300,000 kilometers. per second.

In fact, Ultima Thule's latest browsing updates, according to the spacecraft vessel LORRI camera on board, New Horizons has about 18 miles (30 km) of space from this target of 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers).

As a result of astrodynamics, New Horizons will reach the nearest Ultima Thule at 12:33 a.m. EST (0533 GMT) on Tuesdays, New Year. Four hours later, the spacecraft will suspend its observations by calling the 6.9-foot antenna to call home to Earth.

A huge 230-meter platter, near the NASA Deep Space Network center, will run for more than six hours, 10:29 a.m. EST (1529 GMT). But the best images – along with Ultima Thule along hundreds of pixels – will not arrive on Earth until Tuesday, and will be released on Wednesdays after Wednesday.

The Black and White LORRI camera brings together about 1,500 pictures. Other New Horizons instruments will take on color images, measure the composition of Ultima Thules and infrared data.

The flyby command that is running on the boat. The distance between the Earth and the Ultima Thuliers, scientists and engineers have the opportunity to meet.

New Horizons has instructions on its computer to handle the last minute errors and track the sequence of data collection.

"At this time, the navigation effort has been completed successfully," said Marc Buie, New Horizons Group at the Southwest Research Institute. "From now on, it's a feast day".

The ending of the really exciting shooting of New Horizons ended on December 18 and there is no chance to get a straight line.

Buiek ultima Thule watched a group of hidden stars in a couple of hidden stars that lasted between two stars and the Earth in July 2017 and August 2018.

These observations gave the scientists the idea of ​​a form of Ultima Thule, and Buie suggested that it might be the shape of a peanut, at least according to the hiding data. Some scientists believe that Ultima Thule may be a pair of binary objects, but Buje discarded this option, based on new appearances in August.

"We must be patient and wait for the images to enter and we will see a growing pixel," Buiek said.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1.

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