Published May 16, 2019 | 14:00 EDT (Summary by AAAS)
The first results from the New Horizons spacecraft’s flyby of Kuiper Belt object MU69, or Ultima Thule, show it is an ancient relic that has remained largely untouched – even by the heat of the Sun – since its formation roughly 4.5 billion years ago. Ultima Thule comprises two flattened lobes and probably formed by the gentle collision of two smaller objects. The surface includes discrete geological units, but shows little variation in color and composition. The insights are based on only about 10 per cent of the flyby’s total data.
Canadian co-author: J.J. Kavelaars, National Research Council of Canada, Victoria – JJ.Kavelaars@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca