Resembling a 33-kilometer-long interplanetary "snowman", in the words of Alan Stern, a planetary scientist from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado, and principal investigator for the $800 million mission, MU69 appears to have formed when two spherical objects gently smooshed together billions of years ago.
New images and data returned by the New Horizons probe prove Ultima Thule is a snowman-shaped contact binary, the first to be explored by a spacecraft. Let's break that down really quick: we now have real clear photographs of a celestial body some 1.5 billion kilometres further out than Pluto, taken by a probe travelling at 51,000kmh in really dim conditions.
NASA shared a graphic showing how an object like Ultima Thule forms: "as a rotating cloud of small, icy bodies started to combine".
The event set a record for the most distant ever exploration of a Solar System object.
The two spheres spiralled closer to each other and eventually got stuck together.
The same kind of accretion process produced the other moons and planets of the solar system around 4.5 billion years ago, says Jeff Moore, a co-investigator on NASA'sNew Horizons mission.
For more on New Horizons and its historic journey through the Solar System, watch "Pluto and Beyond", premiering tonight at 9 p.m. ET / 8 p.m CT on PBS.
If confirmed, this configuration could represent a precious snapshot of planetary formation in action, supporting the idea that the massive, orbiting bodies in our inner solar system assembled in part through the rapid coalescing of pebbles and dust.
With such a bland designation, astronomers came up with a very interesting name for this tiny object: "Ultima Thule", a Latin metaphor for a place that is beyond the borders of the known world.
The images we have of the object now show no obvious impact craters, but there are hills and ridges.
An earlier, fuzzier image made it look like a bowling pin.
Besides the improved images, scientists also refined other knowledge of the object.
Scientists can also now infer some geological properties of Ultima Thule. Now, May has combined both of his loves on "New Horizons", his first solo song in more than two decades. The larger of the pair, which scientists named Ultima, is three times bigger than the smaller one, dubbed Thule. NASA'sNew Horizons mission flew by the object early on January 1, and the maneuver's science data will reach Earth over the course of almost two months. The image was taken when the spacecraft was 28,000 km (18,000 mi) away, or just 30 minutes, away from making its closest approach to Ultima Thule.
Although New Horizons was the fastest spacecraft ever launched in 2006, it continues to lose ground to the older missions.
Images also revealed that the two lobes have a mottled appearance. "We know this is how many objects like this form".
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Andujar was the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year runner-up to Los Angeles Angels pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani. The deal, which is pending a completed physical, doesn't take the Yankees out of the race to sign Manny Machado .
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The power forward had an astounding month in which he averaged 22.7 points while shooting 58 percent from the floor. But any thought that San Antonio Spurs fans might treat Leonard to even a mixed reaction were quickly dashed.
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