New Horizons’ next target just got a lot more interesting
New scientific horizons try to answer this question by sorting the new data on the remote object Kuiper Belt (KBO) 2014 MU69, the spacecraft will pass on January 1, 2019. The revision will be further from the space exploration history, One billion miles beyond Pluto.
The former KBO, which is more than four billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) from Earth, a star is approved July 17, 2017.
A handful of telescopes made by the New Horizons team in a remote part of Patagonia, Argentina were in the right place at the right time to catch the fleeting shadow – an event known as the name of a blackout – and were able to enter Important data to help Flyby mission planners better determine the spacecraft’s trajectory and include size, shape, orbit and the environment around MU69.
Based on these new observer observations, team members say MU69 may not be an isolated spherical object, but they suspect it could be an “extreme elongated spheroid” – think lean soccer – or even a binary pair.
The strange shape allowed scientists to believe that two bodies could be very close to the orbit or even touch – called a binary contact or close – or perhaps see a body with a large chunk removed from it.
The size of MU69 or its components can also be determined from this data. It seems that there are no more than 20 miles (30 km), or if a binary, each about 9-12,000 (15-20 kilometers) in diameter.
“This new discovery is simply spectacular.The form of MU69 is really provocative and could also mean for the first time for the New Horizons goes to a binary object in the Kuiper Belt,” said Alan Stern, principal investigator of the Research mission Of the Southwest Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado. “I could not be happier with the results of concealment, which promise a scientific bonus overflight.”
The stellar occultation of July 17, which gathered data from the event was the third in a historical series of three ambitious observations of concealments of new horizons.
The team used data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Gaia satellite of the European Space Agency to calculate and identify where MU69 radiate on the surface of the Earth. “These two space satellites have been crucial to the success of the entire blackout campaign,” Stern said.
Marc Buie, co-investigator of New Horizons who led the observation campaign, “These exciting and confusing results have been essential to our planning mission, but also add to the mysteries surrounding this goal leading to the New Horizons meeting with MU69 now Less than 17 months “.