The reddish snowman we are talking about is the most distant celestial object that was ever explored, and now we have a picture of it, a close-up one, provided by a NASA spacecraft which is located 4 billion miles from our planet.
The object is said to be made out of ice, and it also received a name Ultima Thule inspired by the small city we know. The object measures a total of 21 miles in length.
A few years ago NASA had another spacecraft, New Horizons, send back pictures of Pluto when a mysterious object was passing it on the New Year’s Day.
According to scientists’ statements from Tuesday, the Ultima Thule looked like a bowling pin in the first picture, but clearer pictures were received the day after.
The nickname of the celestial body means “beyond the known world,” and it received it because the scientists were not sure from the beginning that it is one object. After the better pictures were observed, the smaller sphere is called Thule and the bigger one Ultima.
Based on other measurements scientists said that Ultima measures 12 miles while Thule just 3 miles less.
According to Jeff Moore, a scientist who is part of NASA’s Ames Research Center, the two spheres formed due to pebble-size pieces condescending in space a lot of years ago that we can’t count. Time after time, the little balls became the object we see now.
He also added that the two lobes are “soundly bound” together. The full rotation of the object takes about 15 hours, and if would have taken less, it had ripped apart.
What else we know is that it would take almost two years for the scientists to receive the entire amount of the data stored aboard New Horizons. At the moment they have only gotten 1% of it.
Jeff Wilkinson is a Senior Politics Reporter at Debate Report covering provincial and national politics, . Before joining Debate Report, Jeff worked on several provincial campaigns including Jack Layton. Jeff has worked as a freelance journalist in Toronto, having been published by over 20 outlets including CBC, the Center for Media and VICE.com.