Great work by all boffins involved. I was also quite touched to hear (some of) Clyde Tombaugh's ashes were carried past Pluto, and now Ultima Thule aboard New Horizons.
More detailed images have emerged showing 2014 MU69 (aka Ultima Thule) is actually two distinct bodies, held together by the processes that form planets. The latest images transmitted by the New Horizons probe, as it continues the 20-month process of sending Earthwards all that lovely science data collected during its flyby, …
So, assuming the craft survives long enough and ignoring the fingerprints, sweat, hair and dander left on the Voyagers and Pioneers, that would make Mr. T. the first human interstellar traveler.
Eventually and at least partially. Only several dozen millennia to exit the Oort cloud.
I wonder when we'll know where the fully fuel-depleted, freely falling little robot is going to end up?
Why not "head" and "body"?
Yes, it looks less like a snowman when in seen colour, though you could argue that it's still a "dirty snowman".
On the downside, "dirty snowman" sounds too much like some unbelievably disgusting- and completely fictitious- sexual act made up by a couple of bored teenagers and posted to Urban Dictionary circa 2004. :-(
(FWIW, I wrote that *before*- out of ill-judged curiosity- I decided to type "dirty snowman" into Urban Dictionary. Turns out there *is* a very NSFW entry with that exact name, albeit posted in 2010. And it's almost exactly what I'd have expected. Er, thank you "Cote Sloan"...!)
What a bit of luck. The first object to be given a double-barrelled name in advance turns out to be a double object.
The chances against that must be, er, astronomical. >ducks for cover<
Naming them individually "Ultima" and "Thule" is not so much unimaginative as grabbing the moment to set an archetypal precedent. I only wish there were a double-beer icon here.
...and scientists theorise that smaller objects have settled in the valley, or "neck", where the lobes meet, giving a brighter appearance
Nah, my money's on an interstellar scarf. Just wait for the further images when a giant carrot and a few large lumps of coal are found on the surface.
We've had rubber ducks and now a seasonal(ish) snowmen. Nice to see that nature really does have a sense of humour. Top boffinry all round though!
"The coming days and months will bring higher resolution imagery as the probe continues to squirt its data back to Earth."
Apparently the transmission rate is 1000bps - described by a spokesperson as "glacial". There was a time about 50 years ago when a modem with that speed was considered almost impossibly fast.
There was a time about 50 years ago when a modem with that speed was considered almost impossibly fast.
Heck, I irritated friends by bragging about a 2400-baud modem in the late 1980s. It gave me a serious advantage over their 1200- and 300-baud modems when playing the text-based Galactic Empires on BBSs.
75 baud on an honest-to-god teletype when I was at college. If you got use of the VDU you could entice it to the dizzy heights of 300 post connection. That felt bloody quick at the time(!)
Woe betide he who neglected to reset the sodding thing on disconnection, as a subsequent connection attempt would shit all over the modem at the other end and oblige an operator at the Poly to manually reset it. This invariably resulted in a formal complaint and a witch hunt for the culprit.
Love the first images and very much looking forward to the higher resolution ones that we'll see in the coming months.
One thing to note, New Horizons flew by Pluto on July 2015 and it has taken all this time travelling at roughly 58,530 km/h to find the nearest object large enough to visit. Of course in Sci-Fi movies, asteroids are all over the place, almost unavoidable.
"...blown by the sight of planetary formation caught in the act, so to speak."
In a way it looks a bit like the sight of "human formation caught in the act". I guess that the reason the full res images will take so long to arrive is that most of the probe's bandwidth is being hogged by sending the video to Pornhub.
How would we, and indeed top notch boffinry, know whether or not, over the many billions of years, it ever had a third rock attached (attracted) to it, a rather lengthy (relative) sausage shaped rock?
That maybe got broken off by an errant, angry passing female rock? Such force that it resulted in the ejection of 100's of millions of tiny rockettes that went on to seed other planetary formations.
(Self edit : Stop NOW)
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