Scientists with the New Horizons mission gathered collectively in Texas yesterday to debate the most recent findings of MU69. This distant Kuiper Belt object—which bears a putting resemblance to a flattened snowman—is coming out to be even weirder than we imagined. After NASA’s New Horizons zipped earlier Pluto on July 14, 2015, mission planners despatched the spacecraft on a trajectory within the route of 2014 MU69, a distant trans-Neptunian object (TNO). Aside from its location inside the Kuiper Belt and a distinctly reddish hue, nearly nothing was recognized in regards to the function, which was first seen by the Hubble Home Telescope merely five years previously.
New Horizons quickly flew earlier MU69 on New Yr’s Day 2019 at speeds approaching 53,000 km/hr (2,200 mph) and at a minimal distance of three,500 kilometers (2,200 miles). Inside the days that adopted the flyby, and since the pictures of the shut encounter slowly trickled once more to Earth, it quickly turned evident that NASA struck clear gold by deciding on to go to this specific TNO. Yesterday, on the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas, New Horizons scientists gathered to debate the latest findings, addressing such issues because of the merchandise’s type, geology, and composition, and to discuss new ideas about its formation.
The evaluation supplied by William McKinnon, a New Horizons crew member from Washington Faculty in St. Louis, described MU69 as a “pristine” Kuiper Belt object with a NASA press launch together with that the article is an “unquestionably primordial contact binary.”