NASA new Horizon spacecraft has been flying around Pluto since 2015, now finally spotted its next target at the edge of our solar system. On 16th August, the NASA horizon probe captured the first image of Space rock, from the images the researchers deduce that it is an icy body present nearly 20 miles from the Ultima Thule. The scientists have used Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) to capture the distant images.
This new horizon probe was planned to go to Ultima Thule since 2015 and flew for Pluto in July, the scientist decided to extend the Mission and fly the probe to discover more distant places in the universe. As the team selected Ultima Thule so it did not take much of the fuel to change the direction to capture new rocks images.
Hal Weaver, NASA Horizonproject scientist said, “The image field is extremely rich with background stars, which makes it difficult to detect faint objects, It really is like finding a needle in a haystack. In these first images, Ultima appears only as a bump on the side of a background star that’s roughly 17 times brighter, but Ultima will be getting brighter – and easier to see – as the spacecraft gets closer.”
NASA scientist was very curious to visit the object in the Kuiper Belt as it is the large clouds of icy rock-like objects orbiting near Neptune. Researchers also believed that their course has not changed since the beginning of the Universe, so it considered as the unique and primitive objects plus it could give us information about the early time period and our cosmos.
Until now Scientists were using Hubble Space Telescope to see these icy bodies, but the objects are too small and almost 4 billion miles away from Earth so the images weren’t clear. After these recent images Scientists still not sure about the composition of icy bodies because the Horizon Spacecraft is still 100 miles away from the object and they only appear as a tiny little specks.
However, there are just four months left when Horizons and OSIRIS-REx get close to their Space destinations, NASA has other a lot of projects to start in Next year.