NASA's New Horizon Mission Team has published the first image of the longest world ever explored. A planetary block and Kuiper Belt objects were clicked during the New Years 2019 flyby by Ultima Thule which looks like a human in deep meditation.  Called "2014 MU69", the item that is detailed in the May 17 issue of the journal Science – looks like a human being sitting in a meditative pose, an old relic from the planet formation time.
Ultima Thule's air change was the longest exploration of an object in history – nearly 6.4 billion miles from Earth.
The object is a contact binary, with two distinctly different shaped lobes.
In about 36 km, Ultima Thule consists of a large, strange flat lobe (nick name Ultima) connected to a smaller, somewhat rounder lobe (named Thule), at a moment named "neck".
"How the two lobes have their unusual shape is an undiscovered mystery that probably relates to how they were formed billions of years ago," NASA said.
The lobes that probably once curved each other, like many so-called binary worlds in the Kuiper belt, until some process took them together in which researchers have proved to be a "mild" merger.
The adjustment of the axes in Ultima and Thule indicates that the two lobes before the merger must have been locked early, which means that the same sides always meet each other when they orbit the same point.
"We are looking at the well-preserved remains of the old past," said New Horizon's lead researcher Alan Stern, the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado. "There is no doubt that the discovery of Ultima Thule will develop theories of solar system formation".
Researchers in New Horizons also investigate a number of surface functions on Ultima Thule, such as light points and spots, hills and troughs and craters and pits.
The biggest depression is an 8 km wide feature that the team has nicknamed Maryland crater ̵
However, some smaller pits on the Kuiper Belt object may have been created by materials that fall into underground spaces or, due to exotic ices, go from a solid to a gas (called sublimation) and leave pits in place.
Ultima Thule is very red – also saves much larger, 2,400 km wide Pluto, which New Horizons explored at the Kuiper Belt's inner edge 2015.
The reddish hue is believed to be caused by modification of the organic materials on its surface.
New Horizons researchers found evidence of methanol, water ice and organic molecules on the Ultima Thule surface – a mixture that is very different from the most icy objects previously explored by spacecraft.
The spacecraft in the New Horizon world is now 6.6 billion miles from Earth, operating normally and accelerating deeper into the Kuiper belt at nearly 53,000 kilometers per hour.
19 May 2019 12:47 IST