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NASA's New Horizon has sent new images to the astronomers on Earth. The new image reveals new details about the most distant object ever explored - the Ultima Thule. The images were taken when the spacecraft was traveling at 50,000 kilometers per hour on January 1.
"This really is an incredible image sequence, taken by a spacecraft exploring a small world four billion miles away from Earth," said Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute. "Nothing quite like this has ever been captured in imagery," he added.
The new images comprise of scientific information about the shape of the object, which one of the major discoveries from the mission. The previous images showed two spherical segments leading to the name 'snowman.' However, more analysis and new images have changed that view. Merging 14 of such images into a short film, New Horizon scientists concluded that the two sections aren't spherical.
The bigger lobe, called "Ultima" resembles a pancake, while the smaller lobe named "Thule" has a walnut shape.
"We had an impression of Ultima Thule based on the limited number of images returned in the days around the flyby, but seeing more data has significantly changed our view," Stern said.
"It would be closer to reality to say Ultima Thule's shape is flatter, like a pancake. 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," he said.