Ken Kremer —SpaceUpClose.com &
RocketSTEM –17 March 2019
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – The most distant object ever visited is
now unveiled in striking 3D thanks to the New Horizons team plotting its unparalled
path of exploration and discovery deep into the unknown regions of the Kuiper
Belt and our Solar System.
So its time to whip out and wear your 3D red-cyan glasses and
check out the lead image.
The three dimensional image is another glorious gift from the
history making New Year’s 2019 flyby of Ultima Thule
by NASA’s New Horizons robotic emissary from Earth – taken as the probe sped by
in the midnight hour and as it hurtles ever outward from our Home World and Sun.
“NASA’s New Horizons team has created new stereo
views of the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule – the target of the New
Horizons spacecraft’s historic New Year’s 2019 flyby,
four billion miles from Earth – and the images are as cool and captivating as
they are scientifically valuable,” NASA officials announced.
Ultima Thule – which means ‘beyond the known world’ – ranks as the furthest and coldest object ever explored – a magnificently
preserved bi-lobal fossil body formed during the birth of the solar system that
looks remarkably like a ‘snowman’ although a flat one at that.
The 3D image was released by NASA and is the product
of two separate images taken at different distances and angles in order to
create the three dimensional image effect.
The sets of processed images were taken by the
spacecraft’s Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) at 5:01 and 5:26
Universal Time on Jan. 1, 2019 from respective distances of 17,400 miles
(28,000 kilometers) and 4,100 miles (6,600 kilometers) – “offering respective
original scales of about 430 feet (130 meters) and 110 feet (33 meters) per
pixel,” said NASA.
“These views provide a clearer picture of Ultima
Thule’s overall shape,” said mission Principal Investigator Alan Stern, from
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado, “including the
flattened shape of the large lobe, as well as the shape of individual
topographic features such as the “neck” connecting the two lobes, the
large depression on the smaller lobe, and hills and valleys on the larger lobe,”
in a statement.
“We have been looking forward to this
high-quality stereo view since long before the flyby,” added John Spencer, New
Horizons deputy project scientist from SwRI. “Now we can use this rich,
three-dimensional view to help us understand how Ultima Thule came to have its
extraordinary shape,” in a statement.
Here are 2 alternates set of images to get the
3D effect without wearing 3D glasses.
“Ultima Thule” is
an unchanged fossil remnant and planetesimal formed during the dawn of our
solar system some 4.5 Billion Years ago.
the tiny building blocks from which much larger structures like moons and
planets are born by accretion of hordes of bits of matter over time.
consists of two connected balls roughly spherical in appearance.
The team has unofficially nicknamed the larger sphere “Ultima” (12
miles/19 kilometers across) and the smaller sphere “Thule” (9
miles/14 kilometers across).
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Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer
– email: ken at kenkremer.com
area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space
Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events
Mars; The Search for Life & A Journey in 3-D.” 7 PM, Lawton C
Johnson Middle School, Summit, NJ: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sef-grant-presents-exploring-mars-and-the-search-for-life-3d-registration-55524445110