Mysterious Ultima Thule isn't quite a 'snowman' after all

Mysterious Ultima Thule isn't quite a 'snowman' after all

- in Science
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/ Source: Space.com

By Mike Wall, Space.com

Ultima Thule doesn’t look much like a snowman after all.

The final photos that NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft snapped of Ultima Thule during the probe’s epic Jan. 1 flyby reveal the distant object to be far flatter than scientists had thought, mission team members announced Feb. 8.

“We had an impression of Ultima Thule based on the limited number of images returned in the days around the flyby, but seeing more data has significantly changed our view,” New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, said in a statement.

“It would be closer to reality to say Ultima Thule’s shape is flatter, like a pancake,” Stern added. “But more importantly, the new images are creating scientific puzzles about how such an object could even be formed. We’ve never seen something like this orbiting the sun.”

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