NASA must be hungry. The space agency shared the New Horizons spacecraft's farewell look on strange Ultima Thule and decided it looked like a "giant pancake" attached to a "dented walnut"
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The rounded snowman images came within a day of New Horizons' closest approach on January 1st. 1. Images taken 10 minutes after the approach highlighted the view of the object's crescent and gave scientists a better idea of their actual shape.
The blue lines in the picture show NASA's fudge factor. Ultime Thule can fill in these lines or be closer to the flatter shape shown.
"The new images create scientific puzzles about how such an object could ever be shaped, and we've never seen anything like this orbiting the Sun," said lead investigator Alan Stern.
NASA also offered a short descent to film showing the view of New Horizons. The film was made up of 14 different images of Ultima Thule.
Launched in 2006, New Horizons has traveled billions of miles since then, with noteworthy visits to Pluto and now to Ultima Thule.
The spacecraft is healthy and its handlers might try to send it to another interesting destination. We just have to wait and see what it finds so far from home.
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