Three months ago, NASA released for the public some images with the Ultima Thule, an object from the Kuiper Belt discovered by New Horizons. The Ultima Thule is the farthest world that our scientists have ever explored. Thanks to this discovery, the New Horizons team has published the scientific results. This inside is showing us the data gathered by the spacecraft and new information about the ancient remnant of the Solar System’s planets. The scientific results were published in Science, and the paper contains data about the planetesimal’s geology, composition, and development. But what is Ultima Thule?
Ultima Thule is composed of two lobes, and it’s looking like a snowman, but in reality, the lobes are flat like a pancake. From what they have found out, the two lobes have formed near one another, and finally, they have merged. The measurements of the lobes are: the larger lobe is 22x20x7 km, and the smaller lobe is 14x14x10 km. The color of Ultima Thule is red; an intense red than Pluto is showing, and even the reddest object visited by New Horizons. The scientists aren’t sure why the object is red, but they think that this could be a result of the modification on the surface of the organic materials. Also, Ultima Thule is rotating on its axis every 15.92 hours. It has the brightest regions in its neck (the part where the two lobs are connecting). Moreover, Ultima Thule has a large crater with two bright spots inside.
Finally, Ultima Thule has one large crater and no small ones. This can indicate that the presence of smaller objects in one kilometer isn’t around the Kuiper Belt. No evidence of satellites rings and atmosphere weren’t found around the Ultima Thule by the spacecraft. New Horizons is still there, and it’s gathering other data for further study.
Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News. She covers politics and the economy.