The images sent by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft of the Kuiper Belt objects continue to amaze scientists and space enthusiasts worldwide. The spacecraft which flew past Ultima Thule on 1st of Jan took clear pictures for the first time ever of this unique space body that is spread far across the solar system. These detailed images were taken by New Horizon’s Ralph instrument that has a wide-angle Visible Imaging Camera when the Ultimia Thule was 4200 miles away from it on 1st of Jan when it was just seven minutes away from it.
The fine details of the image were sharpened by scientists from an original resolution of 135 meters per pixel that had been stored on the data memory of New Horizons and retrieved on Jan 18-19th2019. The fine tuning process known as deconvolution to show the Ultima Thule with better focus and show its topographic details better. The picture which has now clearer detail shows that the larger circle which is nearly 7 kilometers wide has a deep depression on its surface which could be due to craters. There are also intriguing patterns on its surface that if investigated in details could reveal about how it was formed when the solar system took shape nearly 4.5 billion years ago.
The image recently published now reveals the actual difference between both Ultima Thule lobes’ geological character along with new mysteries for geologists. Investigators stated that once the other close ups of the region are sent by New Horizons with detailed color and clearer resolution it could unravel more mysteries of the region. At present the spacecraft is around 4.13 billion miles away from earth and is moving at a steady pace away from the sun and solar system. Due to the distance radio signals from earth reach the spacecraft 6 hours and nine minutes after leaving earth.