Nasa releases first video of most distant object it has ever explored

Footage shows 'space snowman' Ultima Thule hurtling towards spacecraft

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 16 January 2019 16:07
Nasa releases first video of most distant object in universe

The most distant object ever explored by humanity has appeared in its first ever film.

Stunning new footage shows the far-away object known as Ultima Thule as it tumbles through space, on its way to meet the New Horizons spacecraft that sped past it on New Year's Day.

The video shows the "space snowman" – so named because it is shaped like two spheres joined together – hurtling towards the camera over a series of hours.

Nasa scientists stitched together the animation from a series of photos taken by the agency's spacecraft.

In the video, the small, icy object is shown spinning around like a propeller. It rotates about every 16 hours, with the video showing photos taken over seven hours.

The photos were taken over New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, as the spacecraft made its closest approach to the object. But they were not sent back to Earth until recent days, as part of a series of data dumps that scientists expect to be looking through for years to come.

The New Horizons spacecraft explored Pluto in 2015, providing a series of insights into the still mysterious world. After that, it kept travelling further away from Earth and into the distant reaches of the solar system, where it came upon Ultima Thule.

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