The flyby of Ultima Thule was the farthest exploration of an object in history - nearly 6.4 billion km from Earth.(HT Photo)
The flyby of Ultima Thule was the farthest exploration of an object in history - nearly 6.4 billion km from Earth.(HT Photo)

Most distant space object looks like man in meditation

Called “2014 MU69”, the object -- detailed of which are published in the May 17 issue of journal Science -- looks like a human being sitting in a meditative pose, an ancient relic from the era of planet formation.
By Indo Asian News Service | Washington
UPDATED ON MAY 19, 2019 12:49 PM IST

NASAs New Horizons mission team has published the first image of the farthest world ever explored -- a planetary building block and Kuiper Belt object clicked during New Years 2019 flyby of Ultima Thule which looks like a human being in deep meditation.

Called “2014 MU69”, the object -- detailed of which are published in the May 17 issue of journal Science -- looks like a human being sitting in a meditative pose, an ancient relic from the era of planet formation.

The flyby of Ultima Thule was the farthest exploration of an object in history - nearly 6.4 billion km from Earth.

The object is a contact binary, with two distinctly differently-shaped lobes.

At about 36 km long, Ultima Thule consists of a large, strangely flat lobe (nicknamed Ultima) connected to a smaller, somewhat rounder lobe (nicknamed Thule), at a juncture nicknamed “the neck.”

“How the two lobes got their unusual shape is an unanticipated mystery that likely relates to how they formed billions of years ago,” said NASA.

The lobes likely once orbited each other, like many so-called binary worlds in the Kuiper Belt, until some process brought them together in what scientists have shown to be a “gentle” merger.

The alignment of the axes of Ultima and Thule indicates that before the merger the two lobes must have become tidally locked, meaning that the same sides always faced each other as they orbited around the same point.

“We’re looking into the well-preserved remnants of the ancient past,” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado. “There is no doubt that the discoveries made about Ultima Thule are going to advance theories of solar system formation”.

New Horizons researchers are also investigating a range of surface features on Ultima Thule, such as bright spots and patches, hills and troughs, and craters and pits.

The largest depression is a 8 km wide feature the team has nicknamed Maryland crater - which likely formed from an impact.

Some smaller pits on the Kuiper Belt object, however, may have been created by material falling into underground spaces, or due to exotic ices going from a solid to a gas (called sublimation) and leaving pits in its place.

Ultima Thule is very red - redder even than much larger, 2,400-km wide Pluto, which New Horizons explored at the inner edge of the Kuiper Belt in 2015.

Its reddish hue is believed to be caused by modification of the organic materials on its surface.

New Horizons scientists found evidence for methanol, water ice, and organic molecules on Ultima Thule’s surface - a mixture very different from most icy objects explored previously by spacecraft.

The New Horizons spacecraft is now 6.6 billion km from Earth, operating normally and speeding deeper into the Kuiper Belt at nearly 53,000 km per hour.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Prime Minister Narendra Modi received his first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, at AIIMS in New Delhi, on Monday. (ANI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi received his first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, at AIIMS in New Delhi, on Monday. (ANI)

With first dose, PM Modi joins ranks of world leaders vaccinated against Covid

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Zara Khan
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 02:09 PM IST
Among the first to received the coronavirus disease vaccine was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 71, closely followed by US President Joe Biden, 78
Close
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, March 1, 2021. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas accused the Trump administration of gutting the U.S. immigration system, complicating his job as he tries to meet demands from Democrats to roll back his predecessors' policies. Photographer: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg(Bloomberg)
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, March 1, 2021. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas accused the Trump administration of gutting the U.S. immigration system, complicating his job as he tries to meet demands from Democrats to roll back his predecessors' policies. Photographer: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg(Bloomberg)

US downplays possibility of sharing Covid-19 vaccines with Mexico

Reuters, Washington/mexico City
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 01:43 PM IST
  • The remarks by White House press secretary Jen Psaki came before a video conference between Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and US President Joe Biden
Close
 Bawi Cung, right, seated with his children at home, before he and his two sons were stabbed in an anti-Asian attack last March 2020 at Sam's Club in Midland, Texas.(AP)
Bawi Cung, right, seated with his children at home, before he and his two sons were stabbed in an anti-Asian attack last March 2020 at Sam's Club in Midland, Texas.(AP)

Victims of anti-Asian attacks reflect a year into pandemic

AP
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 01:13 PM IST
  • The grisly encounter brought home the dangerous climate Asian Americans have faced since the coronavirus entered the US, with racially motivated harassment and assaults occurring from coast to coast.
Close
Australia, a staunch US ally, is home to Boeing's largest footprint outside the United States and has vast airspace with relatively low traffic for flight testing.(Reuters file photo)
Australia, a staunch US ally, is home to Boeing's largest footprint outside the United States and has vast airspace with relatively low traffic for flight testing.(Reuters file photo)

Boeing to base US Air Force prototype on Australian pilotless combat jet

Reuters, Sydney
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 01:09 PM IST
The "Loyal Wingman", the first military aircraft to be designed and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years, made its first flight on Saturday under the supervision of a Boeing test pilot monitoring it from a ground control station in South Australia.
Close
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: HSBC logo is seen on a branch bank in the financial district in New York, U.S., August 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: HSBC logo is seen on a branch bank in the financial district in New York, U.S., August 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo(REUTERS)

HSBC banker knew about dealings with Iran, Meng’s defense argues

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 12:43 PM IST
That meeting is a key event in the US case against Meng, which alleges the Huawei chief financial officer misled banks into processing Huawei transactions that potentially violated US sanctions against Iran.
Close
The case comes days before an annual meeting of China’s legislature opens in Beijing, with senior officials calling for lawmakers to overhaul the former British colony’s election system to further diminish the influence of pro-democracy politicians.(AFP)
The case comes days before an annual meeting of China’s legislature opens in Beijing, with senior officials calling for lawmakers to overhaul the former British colony’s election system to further diminish the influence of pro-democracy politicians.(AFP)

Hong Kong Activists return to court, continue arraignment on subversion charges

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 12:41 PM IST
The hearing Tuesday will determine whether the 47 defendants remain in jail or get released on bail before a trial that could be months away.
Close
"If we're oppressed, there will be explosion. If we're hit, we'll hit back," demonstrators chanted before police moved in firing stun grenades to scatter crowds in at least four different places in the city.(MYANMAR NOW via REUTERS)
"If we're oppressed, there will be explosion. If we're hit, we'll hit back," demonstrators chanted before police moved in firing stun grenades to scatter crowds in at least four different places in the city.(MYANMAR NOW via REUTERS)

Myanmar police fire stun grenades as Southeast Asian ministers aim for talks

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 12:18 PM IST
The talks will come two days after the bloodiest day of unrest since the military removed Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government a month ago, unleashing anger and mass street protests across Myanmar.
Close
A woman holds a packet containing vials of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm at a Hungarian pharmaceutical wholesaler in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. A shipment of COVID-19 vaccines produced in China arrived in Hungary on Tuesday, making it the first of the European Union's 27 nations to receive a Chinese vaccine. (Marton Monus/MTI via AP)(AP)
A woman holds a packet containing vials of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm at a Hungarian pharmaceutical wholesaler in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. A shipment of COVID-19 vaccines produced in China arrived in Hungary on Tuesday, making it the first of the European Union's 27 nations to receive a Chinese vaccine. (Marton Monus/MTI via AP)(AP)

Chinese vaccines sweep much of the world, despite concerns

AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 11:10 AM IST
China’s vaccine diplomacy campaign has been a surprising success: It has pledged roughly half a billion doses of its vaccine to more than 45 countries.
Close
Palaeontologists excavate of dinosaur bones that belonged to a titanosaur in Neuquen province, Argentina.(Reuters)
Palaeontologists excavate of dinosaur bones that belonged to a titanosaur in Neuquen province, Argentina.(Reuters)

Fossils of oldest member of huge dinosaur group found in Argentina

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 11:08 AM IST
The dinosaur's incomplete skeletal remains were discovered south of the city of Neuquen. The researchers said Ninjatitan demonstrated that the titanosaurs as a group first appeared longer ago than previously known.
Close
A demonstrator holds a poster with a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.(Reuters/ File photo)
A demonstrator holds a poster with a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.(Reuters/ File photo)

US focused on 'future conduct' of Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi sanctions

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 11:06 AM IST
The United States on Friday declassified a report that said the crown prince approved an operation in 2018 to capture or kill Khashoggi and issued some sanctions against Saudi nationals and entities.
Close
Hydroxychloroquine was touted as a Covid-19 treatment by former President Donald Trump and later deemed ineffective.(REUTERS)
Hydroxychloroquine was touted as a Covid-19 treatment by former President Donald Trump and later deemed ineffective.(REUTERS)

Hydroxychloroquine shouldn’t be used as Covid preventive, says WHO

Posted by Prashasti Singh | Bloomberg
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:54 AM IST
A WHO expert panel found that the medicine had no meaningful effect on deaths or hospitalizations and may even increase the risk of adverse effects, the group said in a statement Tuesday.
Close
The detentions have drawn international condemnation and accusations that the governments in Hong Kong and Beijing are using the law to crush dissent and stifle the opposition.(REUTERS)
The detentions have drawn international condemnation and accusations that the governments in Hong Kong and Beijing are using the law to crush dissent and stifle the opposition.(REUTERS)

Hearing for Hong Kong democracy activists resumes after marathon session

Reuters, Hong Kong
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:36 AM IST
The activists are accused of organising and participating in an unofficial primary poll last July aimed at selecting the strongest candidates for a legislative council election that the government later postponed, citing the coronavirus.
Close
The Taylors are alleged to have helped Ghosn flee Japan on Dec. 29, 2019, hidden in a box and on a private jet before reaching his childhood home, Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.(REUTERS)
The Taylors are alleged to have helped Ghosn flee Japan on Dec. 29, 2019, hidden in a box and on a private jet before reaching his childhood home, Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.(REUTERS)

Two men extradited to Japan from US, charged in aiding Ghosn's escape

Reuters, Tokyo
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:23 AM IST
The development followed a months-long battle by lawyers for US Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, to avoid being sent to Japan to faces charges they helped Ghosn escape the country.
Close
The Twitter App loads on an iPhone in this illustration photograph(Reuters)
The Twitter App loads on an iPhone in this illustration photograph(Reuters)

Twitter cracks down on Covid-19 vaccine misinformation

Posted by Shivani | PTI, San Francisco
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:18 AM IST
The company said Monday that it has started using human reviewers to assess whether tweets violate its policy against Covid vaccine misinformation. Eventually, the work will be done by a combination of humans and automation, it said.
Close
Trump’s remarks came on the closing day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida.(REUTERS)
Trump’s remarks came on the closing day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida.(REUTERS)

Donald Trump again hints at a 2024 poll run

By Yashwant Raj, Washington
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 07:15 AM IST
Taking the stage for the first time since leaving office, Trump launched an attack on his successor, President Joe Biden, saying he has had the “most disastrous first month of any president in modern history”.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP