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On eve of New Horizons flyby, Ultima Thule nonetheless holding onto its mysteries

A day earlier than NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft closes in on a frozen outpost nicknamed Ultima Thule 4.1 billion miles (6.6 billion kilometers) from Earth, primary info in regards to the metropolis-sized object continued to elude scientists Sunday as the bottom staff braced for a deluge of information and imagery that ought to unmask the unexplored world on the frontier of the photovoltaic system.

Not more than 20 miles (30 kilometers) lengthy, Ultima Thule — formally named 2014 MU69 — is a billion miles past Pluto, the final world New Horizons visited. It’s reddish in the shade, and scientists have pinpointed its location with outstanding precision for an object found merely in 2014.

Aside from that, Ultima Thule’s look is relegated to the imaginations of scientists and house fanatics. That can change in a rush as soon as photos snapped by the New Horizons spacecraft’s black-and-white and coloration cameras start coming again to Earth on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Whereas scientists knew Ultima Thule would solely reveal its secrets and techniques within the final days — or hours — of the flyby, the questions nonetheless unanswered have prompted New Horizons group members to faucet into their artistic sides.

Ultima Thule is merely beginning to be resolved by New Horizons’s LORRI imaging digital camera, which up to now has considered the thing as only a level of sunshine — a single pixel within the digicam’s area-of-view. That can change quickly because the probe speeds towards it at 32,000 mph (14 kilometers per second).

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