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Preliminary Results Published From New Horizons Flyby of MU69 ‘Ultima Thule’

RockDoctor writes: The NASA/SWRI/Lowell Observatory (and a minimum of three universities) staff managing the obtain of information from New Horizons has released a first look on the effects downloaded up to now. At the time of writing, about four days of about 600 days of downloading have been finished. The subsequent milestone hinted at is for March 2019 when the LPSC (Lunar & Planetary Science Conference) gets any other batch of information because the quite a lot of science groups get extra information out of the pipeline.

Results: Firstly the total form — as hinted by means of the occultation effects from just about a yr in the past — is a touch binary. There is so much of paintings occurring from that, about how it would have shaped, its accretion historical past and thermal historical past. The rotation duration is healthier identified (and this may increasingly strengthen as extra information is downloaded) at 15=/-1 hours. The mass stays unknown. The mass ratio of the 2 elements (nicknamed “Ultima” and “Thule”) is suspected to be the similar as their quantity ratio — 2.6:1; to get a correct mass, remark of a satellite tv for pc is wanted, however the trajectory exchange for the spacecraft is not going to be sufficiently big to estimate the mass neatly. Very little information has come down but in regards to the mineralogy, however the colour suggests there’s much less water ice on MU69 than on Nix, the satellite tv for pc of Pluto identical in dimension to MU69. The explanation why for a vivid area to mark the junction between the 2 lobes isn’t identified.

That’ll be the sum of the knowledge for the following 10 weeks till the 50th LPSC on March 18th.

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