The encounter between the New Horizons probe and the remote object, known as Ultima Thule, is a historic moment, but after the thoughtful thought the ship sent back from Pluto, you might be forgiven for being disappointed at how vague the early images were. These concerns must be partially relieved by the latest image of the probe, which shows the rocky world in much greater detail.
It's not exactly the quality of the poster yet, but remember that it's coming back a little over four billion miles. And it's not just sending out the best stuff, it's a huge series of images she took in time of the short flight on January 1
Lighting is accidental. and helps to show the Top Thule topography or 2014 MU69, as previously known. To give you a sense of scale, the large recess in what you might call the head of a snowman is about 4 miles. The team writes in a blog post:
It is unclear whether these pits are impact craters or features stemming from other processes such as "pile collapsing" or the ancient release of volatile materials. light and dark patterns of unknown origin that can reveal clues about how the body was collected during the formation of the solar system 4,5 billion years ago. One of the most impressive of them is the clear "collar" separating the two shovels.
Alan Stern, a senior explorer of the New Horizons mission, with whom I spoke about flights and other topics a few months before New Year, says in the same post that we have yet to look forward to:
"This new image begins to reveal the geological differences between the two Ultima Thule shovels and introduce us to new mysteries. Next month, there will be better colors and better dividing images that we hope will help to uncover the many mysteries of Ultima Thule. "