NASA scored a great achievement in the first day of 2019 when the New Horizons spacecraft managed to complete the most distant flyby in space. The spacecraft managed to send home a few images and more are on their way.
New Horizons passed by its target and researchers are now hoping that it will be able to reach the edge of our solar system at some point in the future. Some thought that the voyage may have been too taxing but the latest tests suggest that New Horizons is in excellent condition and capable to continue its journey through the void.
As it travelled towards Ultima Thule the spacecraft managed to record 7GB of data about several Kuiper Belt Objects that were nearby. It will now have to send all the information home but the transfer won’t happen in the following days. For a period of five days, from January 4 to January 9, New Horizons will pass through the atmosphere of the sun and the strong radiation will block any transmissions that are aimed towards Earth. During this period the researchers will take a well-deserved holyday in order to relax.
They are already looking forward to the data that will arrive once spacecraft is able to transmit data. At a transfer speed of 1,000 bits of second they will have to wait for approximately 20 months in order to receive all the data that has been collected until now. Images and data related to Ultima Thule are deemed to be high-value data and will be recovered first according to one of the researchers.
The spacecraft was able to gather a large variety of information which includes geologic features, mineral composition and data related to the possible existence of rings and moons.
NASA plans to extend the mission program in order to look for more worlds that are similar to Ultima Thule. New Horizons has enough fuel to travel until 2030 and it may be able to discover new and exciting things in the future.
Benjamin Diaz started working for Debate Report in 2017. Ben grew up in a small town in northern Ontario. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife a year later. Benhas been a proud Torontonian for the past 10 years. He covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for CTV News and the Huffington Post Canada.