As the world celebrates the arrival of a new year, billions of kilometers from Earth, the New Horizons probe will overcome a new milestone in space exploration when it approaches the most distant target that humanity has visited.
New Horizons is the same ship that in 2015 gave us the best look at Pluto today, and since then it has flown to the most distant Kuiper belt object, called Ultima Thule, a Latin term meaning "A place outside the known world."
It is assumed that the probe will arrive on January 1, 2019 in 3500 kilometers from Ultima Thulewhere he will collect detailed images of the object among other data in what will be the farthest research mission of the space object to date.
With this milestone, researchers hope that Ultima Thule can give a hint about how dwarf planets, such as Pluto, were formed over 4.5 billion years ago. All in addition to the proposal that is the solar system.
But since this is a research mission, no one knows for sure what the New Horizons will open, intrigue that NASA defines as "Pure Intelligence and Fundamental Science."
New Horizons has a built-in camera that is used to collect fundamental materials in space exploration, as you can see in the following tweet from the official probe report, which shows a set of images taken by a long-range reconnaissance camera (LORRI). ) New Horizons, where it is clear that Ultima Thule appears behind the stars and becomes brighter as the ship approaches.
#NewHorizons the spacecraft is on the last approach #UltimaThule! Much is happening to prepare for our historical # NYE19 flying to #KuiperBelt, Get the latest news from the chief investigator of the mission of Alan Stern in this new blog post -> https://t.co/yDyVDmo4bf pic.twitter.com/cGjYCbaR6Q
– NASA New Horizons (@NASANewHorizons) December 20, 2018
In this sense, NASA notes that "close-up images, compositional spectra, and other types of data will begin to flow from the New Horizon on the day of flight on January 1," so The first image taken by the probe can be launched on January 2.