NASA Set To Make Historic New Year’s Day Flyby of Mysterious ‘Ultima Thule’
By Fox News // December 31, 2018
Ultima Thule – tiny rock orbiting roughly 4 billion miles from the sun
(FOX NEWS) – As 2018 draws to a close and a new year dawns, one group of people plans to celebrate something far more unusual — a flyby of the most distant solar system object ever explored.
On Tues. Jan. 1, at 12:33 a.m. EST(0533 GMT), NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will fly by Ultima Thule, the tiny rock orbiting roughly 4 billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) from the sun. Here’s how to watch the flyby online today and tomorrow.
Even in the final days of the approach, however, Ultima Thule is playing things close to the vest. “We’ve never in the history of spaceflight gone to a target that we’ve known less about,” Alan Stern, principal investigator of New Horizons and a researcher at the Southwest Research Center in Colorado, told reporters Sunday (Dec. 30). [Ultima Thule Flyby! Full Coverage]
But when the spacecraft arrives, it will turn a suite of instruments onto the mysterious object, and many of its mysteries will be unveiled. It’s the second historic rendezvous for New Horizons, which zipped by Pluto in July 2015 on the first-ever flyby of that world.
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