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  New Horizons to Pluto, Ultima Thule: Comments (Page 3)

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Author Topic:   New Horizons to Pluto, Ultima Thule: Comments
Space Cadet Carl
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posted 07-20-2015 04:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Space Cadet Carl   Click Here to Email Space Cadet Carl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder how many of these people that are clamoring for "immediate images NOW!!!" would have taken the tremendous time, energy and patience to earn their own university double-Phd's, like a lot of the scientists at APL processing that New Horizons data have accomplished on their own over the period of a decade or two? I have my doubts.

oly
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posted 07-21-2015 03:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I figure it took 9 years to get there I can wait for the pictures a while longer.

Blackarrow
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posted 07-21-2015 06:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by onesmallstep:
Good to know that someone from across the pond is putting NASA's feet to the fire for not releasing images 'fast' enough to satisfy the public's craving (or lack of) - and he's not even a US taxpayer!

Always a valid point (taken in the spirit in which it was made!) but believe me, as a non-U.S. taxpayer, I envy those of you who get the chance to pay for NASA's amazing expeditions. I wish more of my taxes would go towards space exploration.

I hope I have made it sufficiently clear that my frustration has merely been at the data management issue. As always over the last 50 years of NASA's planetary explorations, I have the utmost admiration and respect for the dedication of the people who have achieved these amazing successes.

And perhaps that is the real point: I've been around to see all of those 50 years of exploration. Perhaps I'm getting impatient. I'll probably not be around to see what wonders NASA performs in the 2030s, and there are others who post here in the same position. (You know who you are!)

In all seriousness, I do think there is a large section of the public that is neither fanatically interested (and therefore eager to see results as quickly as possible); nor completely uninterested. There is a section of society (I can only assume this of the States, but it seems a reasonable conclusion) which notices the images from a mission like New Horizons, and reacts with intelligent curiosity and interest. I just hope their interest will not wither during the 5-6 week image-drought.

Bob M
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posted 07-23-2015 07:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What involvement did JPL/Pasadena have in the New Horizons Pluto fly-by? JPL has always played a major role in all the other planetary missions (Viking, Voyager, etc.), but seems to be uninvolved with Pluto.

But JPL does manage the Deep Space Network of antennas, with their Canberra station in Australia receiving the first close-up images from New Horizons. And I wonder if there are any antennas in Pasadena/JPL that have also received images from New Horizons?

onesmallstep
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posted 07-23-2015 08:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA JPL is involved in New Horizons, in charge of the DSN antennas in Canberra, Australia; Madrid, Spain and Goldstone (Barstow), California. Maybe because all the images and news conferences originate from Johns Hopkins' Applied Physics Lab (which manages the mission), the profile of JPL may be a little lower, but it still is involved.

The only way JPL in Pasadena receives any images is when they are routed through one of the three DSN dishes. The antennas on the JPL campus are too weak to pick up signals so far away on their own.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-23-2015 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a list of the research centers, NASA facilities, educational institutions and companies involved in the New Horizons mission.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) - Technical analysis, Co-I support and the Deep Space Network
The mission is managed by Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). Its science team is based out of the Southwest Research Institute.

Bob M
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posted 07-26-2015 06:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you both for the information about JPL's involvement in the New Horizons mission.

Besides JPL, also missing in the news is any credit to Lockheed Martin and Boeing for their key roles in providing the Atlas V (Lockheed-Martin) and STAR48B upper stage (Boeing) rockets that sent New Horizons on its successful voyage. Had either failed, Pluto would have remained a small, featureless orb for many more decades to come.

Blackarrow
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posted 07-28-2015 10:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A very worthwhile point. As I recall, the last U.S. planetary mission to be lost because of a launch-vehicle failure was Mariner 8 in 1971. I would say "44 years without a mishap" but that might tempt fate!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-10-2015 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The first photos to be received since the July flyby have now been posted to the New Horizons website.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-17-2015 11:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Absolutely amazing new photos of Pluto released today!

Above: Just 15 minutes after its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft looked back toward the sun and captured this near-sunset view of the rugged, icy mountains and flat ice plains extending to Pluto's horizon.

The smooth expanse of the informally named icy plain Sputnik Planum (right) is flanked to the west (left) by rugged mountains up to 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) high, including the informally named Norgay Montes in the foreground and Hillary Montes on the skyline. To the right, east of Sputnik, rougher terrain is cut by apparent glaciers.

The backlighting highlights over a dozen layers of haze in Pluto's tenuous but distended atmosphere. The image was taken from a distance of 11,000 miles (18,000 kilometers) to Pluto; the scene is 780 miles (1,250 kilometers) wide. (NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

SkyMan1958
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posted 09-17-2015 06:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A Cool (pun intended) picture.

One thing I find interesting is that at full resolution you can see clues as to the speed of the probe (and/or movement of the camera) in the image. Given the speed of the probe and the low background light, the camera and/or the probe were panned to give a longer exposure time to the image. If you look just up and to the right of the top center of the planet limb you can see two (I assume) stars smeared by motion. There is a 3rd star smear just above the planet rim at the far right of the image.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-24-2015 03:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA today released the first new color pictures of Pluto since the flyby.

The agency also released this full resolution, false color image of the full face of the planet (click to enlarge):

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-01-2015 12:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA's new images today center on Pluto's moon Charon:

alcyone
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posted 10-08-2015 07:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alcyone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Magnificent images!

Blackarrow
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posted 10-31-2015 10:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This confuses me slightly. It truly is a breathtaking image, but will the missing 35% (or thereabouts) of Pluto (i.e. the bottom bit) also be released?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-31-2015 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From what NASA states, that is the complete image.

It was taken just 15 minutes after closest approach from a distance of 11,000 miles (18,000 kilometers) to Pluto, which may explain why only part of the planet was captured by the wide-angle Multi-spectral Visible Imaging Camera.

Blackarrow
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posted 11-01-2015 11:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't doubt that this is a complete image, I just hope there might be another complete image which will cover the "bottom half." If not, so be it. It truly is breathtaking.

SpaceAholic
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posted 12-05-2015 03:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice video comprised of best images received to date from the spacecraft:

Blackarrow
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posted 05-29-2016 02:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Warming up for a possible extended mission as it speeds through deep space, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has now twice observed 1994 JR1, a 90-mile (145-kilometer) wide Kuiper Belt object (KBO) orbiting more than 3 billion miles (5 billion kilometers) from the Sun.
2014 MU69 isn't a very catchy name for the most distant object to be explored by a spacecraft from Earth. Has any thought been given to naming New Horizons' next flyby target?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-15-2016 08:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
New Horizons: Imagining a Landing on Pluto

Imagine a future spacecraft following New Horizons' trailblazing path to Pluto, but instead of flying past its target – as New Horizons did to explore Pluto and beyond – the next visitor touches down in the midst of tall mountains on the icy plains of Pluto's heart.

There's no need to wait for that fantasy trip, thanks to new video produced by New Horizons scientists. Made from more than 100 New Horizons images taken over six weeks of approach and close flyby, the video offers a "trip" to Pluto. It starts with a distant spacecraft's view of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon – closing the distance day by day – with a dramatic "landing" on the shoreline of Pluto's informally named Sputnik Planum.

"Just over a year ago, Pluto was just a dot in the distance," said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado. "This video shows what it would be like to ride aboard an approaching spacecraft and see Pluto grow to become a world, and then to swoop down over its spectacular terrains as if we were approaching some future landing."

After a 9.5-year voyage covering more than three billion miles, New Horizons flew through the Pluto system on July 14, 2015, coming within 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) of Pluto. Carrying powerful telescopic cameras that could spot features smaller than a football field, New Horizons has sent back hundreds of images of Pluto and its moons.

"The challenge in creating this movie is to make it feel like you're diving into Pluto," said Constantine Tsang, a New Horizons scientist at SwRI who worked with Stern to create the movie. "We had to interpolate some of the frames based on what we know Pluto looks like to make it as smooth and seamless as possible. It's certainly fun to see this and think what it would feel like to approach a landing on Pluto!"

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-12-2016 11:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Emily Lakdawalla with The Planetary Society on Twitter:
All of the New Horizons [raw] data received through January 2016 has now been formally released.
And from NASA's Small Bodies Node:
This data set contains Raw data taken by the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager instrument during the Pluto encounter mission phase. This is VERSION 2.0 of this data set. This data set contains LORRI observations taken during the the Approach (Jan-Jul, 2015) and Encounter mission sub-phases, including flyby observations taken on 14.July, 2015; the data are limited to those downlinked from the spacecraft as of the end of January, 2016. The rest of the downlinked data for this mission phase will be delivered in a future data set.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-31-2016 12:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern on Twitter:
Exactly two years from now, on 31 Dec 2018 and 1 Jan 2019, NASA's New Horizons will be completing its next flyby, a billion miles beyond Pluto!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-23-2017 01:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA video
What would it be like to actually land on Pluto? This movie was made from more than 100 images taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft over six weeks of approach and close flyby in the summer of 2015. The video offers a trip down onto the surface of Pluto — starting with a distant view of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon — and leading up to an eventual ride in for a "landing" on the shoreline of Pluto's informally named Sputnik Planitia.

To create a movie that makes viewers feel as if they're diving into Pluto, mission scientists had to interpolate some of the panchromatic (black and white) frames based on what they know Pluto looks like to make it as smooth and seamless as possible. Low-resolution color from the Ralph color camera aboard New Horizons was then draped over the frames to give the best available, actual color simulation of what it would look like to descend from high altitude to Pluto's surface.

Wehaveliftoff
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posted 07-14-2017 09:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just released, new video simulations of New Horizon's flybys of Pluto and Charon. Cool.

sev8n
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posted 07-15-2017 08:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sev8n     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Blackarrow:
It truly is a breathtaking image, but will the missing 35% (or thereabouts) of Pluto (i.e. the bottom bit) also be released?
With a little photo editing, I merged a mirrored image with the original to complete the sphere.

Blackarrow
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posted 07-16-2017 05:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, yes, the result is spectacular and I'm prepared (with a little reluctance) to accept that this (sort of) provides the missing image I had hoped to see. 8 out of 10!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-06-2018 10:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern on Twitter:
As of today [May 6], New Horizons is just 2 Astronomical Units to our next flyby target Ultima Thule — arrival on 1 Jan 2019!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-03-2018 09:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern on Twitter:
As of today [Sep. 3], New Horizons is just 1 Astronomical Unit (AU) to our next target, the KBO Ultima Thule (aka 2014 MU69)! And we're homing in to be there and explore it on New Years Eve and New Years Day! Mark your calendars and join us!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-05-2018 03:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
'Beam' Your Greeting to New Horizons

Team to Transmit Messages to the Spacecraft During New Year's Flyby in the Kuiper Belt

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has traveled 13 years to reach the heart of the Kuiper Belt – but you can get there in a matter of hours!

In 2005, more than 430,000 people signed up online to place their names on New Horizons for its trek to Pluto and beyond. Now, with the intrepid spacecraft in the "beyond" phase of its voyage and poised to conduct the farthest planetary flyby ever, NASA's New Horizons mission team is offering the public another chance to send a message to New Horizons on its historic exploration of Ultima Thule — an ancient Kuiper Belt object a billion miles farther than Pluto!

Visit here to select a message to send to the New Horizons spacecraft. You'll be asked to confirm your submission through email, and you'll receive an electronic certificate commemorating your participation.

On Jan. 1, as New Horizons is flying past Ultima Thule four billion miles from home, the messages and names will be "beamed" by radio toward the spacecraft and Ultima from the satellite communications facility at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory – on the same Maryland campus as New Horizons mission control!

"Traveling at light speed, the signals carrying these messages will reach the spacecraft about six hours after being beamed from the Applied Physics Lab's largest dish antenna, on the very same day that New Horizons flies by Ultima Thule!" said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado. "How cool is that?

Entries will be accepted through Dec. 21, 2018. Like the flyby itself, this is a one-shot chance to become part of deep-space exploration history – don't miss it!

Blackarrow
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posted 12-05-2018 08:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is this wise? Is there any possibility that handling a (frankly unnecessary) incoming message while trying to conduct crucial scientific studies might "confuse" the computer on the spacecraft resulting in data loss? What are the odds? 1 in 100? 1 in 1,000? 1 in 1,000,000? What level of risk is acceptable? I realise we are long past the days when transmitting a "+" instead of a "-" can doom a spacecraft... or are we?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-07-2018 06:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Queen lead guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May on Instagram:
This 60 second clip is the first of three brief tasters of my own new "New Horizons" track, which will pay homage to this mission. We will reveal the song in full on 1st Jan.

Thanks to the mighty John Miceli for epic drums on this track. Thanks to the legendary Don Black for helping me write it. Also to my co-producers and engineers Justin Shirley-Smith and Kris Fredriksson. And respects to Kris for putting this clip together. And. Special thanks to NH Project Instigator Alan Stern.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-18-2018 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From The Planetary Society, what to expect when New Horizons visits 2014 MU69, Ultima Thule, and when we will get pictures.
As happened at Pluto, New Horizons will not be communicating with Earth during closest approach, because it will be focused on gathering all the science it can during the high-speed flyby. Whenever it does turn back to point at Earth to transmit data it will take more than 6 hours for its data to traverse the distance between us. So when are we going to get to find out what MU69 looks like?

A few precious data downlinks in the days before and after the flyby will contain some small photos from New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), which takes grayscale snapshots. Lower-resolution color comes from the Multicolor Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC), a component of the Ralph instrument. The first images that we get back from New Horizons will not be the best images that New Horizons has taken. The reasons for that are complicated; I'll explain...

denali414
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posted 12-27-2018 05:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for denali414   Click Here to Email denali414     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nova on PBS will have a special on New Horizons and Ultima Thule next Wednesday (Jan. 3, 2019) at 9:00 p.m.
At 12:33 a.m. EST on January 1, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will make its closest approach to the enigmatic Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule, just a few days shy of the thirteenth anniversary of the space probe's initial launch in 2006. If the flyby is successful, Ultima Thule will become the farthest object in the Solar System humanity has explored so far—and perhaps the most primitive.

The New Horizons mission is only just entering its teens, but the team of scientists, engineers, and personnel behind it at NASA can already boast a lifetime's worth of staggering findings from the spacecraft's tenure abroad. As New Horizons continues to close the gap between itself and Ultima Thule, here's what you need to know to get caught up.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-31-2018 08:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA TV will broadcast the following events (times in Eastern Standard):
    December 31, 2018

  • 2 p.m.: New Horizons media briefing and spacecraft final approach before flyby of Ultima Thule, a Kuiper belt object (KBO).
  • 3 p.m.: Q&A with the New Horizons Team
  • 8 p.m.: Panel Discussion: New Horizons Flyby of Ultima Thule

    January 1, 2019

  • 12:15 a.m.: New Horizons flyby of Ultima Thule, a Kuiper belt objec
  • 9:45 a.m.: New Horizons Signal Acquisition from Ultima Thule Flyby
  • 11:30 a.m.: New Horizons Post-Flyby Press Conference

    January 2, 2019

  • 2 p.m.: New Horizons press briefing on science results from Ultima Thule

    January 3, 2019

  • 2 p.m.: New Horizons press briefing on science results from Ultima Thule

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-01-2019 09:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Signal received from New Horizons, confirming the spacecraft survived its flyby of Ultima Thule!
We have a healthy spacecraft. We've just accomplished the most distant flyby. We are ready for Ultima Thule science transmission. — Alice Bowman, Mission Operations Manager (MOM)
The spacecraft's solid state recorders show the expected amount of data on board.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-02-2019 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
New Horizons has revealed Ultima Thule to be a contact binary...

Jurg Bolli
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posted 01-02-2019 02:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is fabulous, very interesting.

SkyMan1958
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posted 01-02-2019 04:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's interesting to me that even though both parts of Ultima Thule are way too small to have gravity form them into spheres, that, in fact, both parts are sphere shaped.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-02-2019 05:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jeff Moore, New Horizons geology and geophysics team lead from NASA's Ames Research Center, spoke about this during today's press conference:
The nearly spherical shape of both lobes, as well as the fact the two lobes came together so perfectly without any collisional damage is a strong indication it is all formed through accretion and accretionary processes as opposed to some other mechanism.

There is a good article about pebble accretion and planetesimal formation here.

SkyMan1958
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posted 01-02-2019 07:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting. Thank you Robert!


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