MU69, also known as Ultima Thule is the most distant world explored by us. The New Horizons spacecraft has the mission to obtain more information about it, and this is exactly what it managed to do.
This time we finally learned more details about its appearance. New images of the Ultima Thula showed that MU69 has quite an odd shape. NASA revealed the new information through a tweet:
New pics, new info! New Horizons scientists at @JHUAPL confirm the two sections (or “lobes”) of #UltimaThule are not spherical. The larger lobe more closely resembles a giant pancake and the smaller lobe is shaped like a dented walnut! https://t.co/t29kOqe5iA https://t.co/Ia6HlQQCAY
— NASA New Horizons (@NASANewHorizons)
Looking like a pancake
It was expected to discover that the shape of the object is a spherical one. However, that is not true at all. NASA observed that the two parts of it are instead similar to a pancake, as they are flat. This is something new for the scientific community and no similar object was discovered before, which leads to numerous questions.
“This really is an incredible image sequence, taken by a spacecraft exploring a small world four billion miles away from Earth,’ declared mission Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of Southwest Research Institute. “Nothing quite like this has ever been captured in imagery. It would be closer to reality to say Ultimate Thule’s shape is flatter, like a pancake.”
The latest images managed to surprise all scientists. It is the first time they discover something like that orbiting the sun: “But more importantly, the new images are creating scientific puzzles about how such an object could even be formed. We’ve never seen something like this orbiting the sun.”