New Horizon Sent an Exclusive New Year Gift to Researchers from Space

Science

NASA’s New Horizon Probe made a successful flyby from the farthest object of our solar system. As the world was busy celebrating the new year day, the historical flyby marked a milestone in the history of NASA. The flyby of Ultima Thule, a mysterious object in the Kuiper Belt which measures 4.1 billion miles away from Earth completed successfully. Delighted NASA researchers were celebrating the victory yesterday morning. They firstly verified that the spacecraft had reached the solar system’s outermost region. New Horizon probe flew closer to the surface of the space rock to gather information. The data collected during the flyby may shed light on the evolution of the solar system.

New Horizons spacecraft was scheduled to reach the third-zone in the Kuiper Belt. It is one of the regions which is not yet explored by humanity. The probe entered the mysterious part of the Kuiper Belt at 12:33 a.m. ET. Researchers feared because they did not get any confirmation of success until 10:31 a.m. The spacecraft flew with a speed of 32,000 mph when it captured the first close-up image of the distant object. It took more than 6 hours for a signal to reach from New Horizons to Earth. Mission operation lab in Maryland received the first signal from the probe. Alice Bowman, mission operations manager for New Horizon, said they have a healthy spacecraft. After listening to the news, the team members and other audience gave a standing ovation for the success.

Ralph Semmel, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Director, stated that the flyby had set a new record. He added it marks a first for APL, NASA, the country and the whole world. According to him, the credit goes to the team of researchers who worked hard to reach this point. According to NASA, the images captured during the flyby disclose some facts about the icy object. The object may have a shape similar to a blowing pin with a spinning end over end. Additionally, the object may measure 20 by 10 miles. NASA’s probe captured gigabytes of photos and other details during the pass. But it may take a few days to get all the information and images stored on the New Horizon.

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