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NASA spacecraft survives flyby of the most distant object ever visited

NASA spacecraft survives flyby of the most distant object ever visited

Technology
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft pulled off the most distant exploration of another world Tuesday, skimming past a tiny, icy object 4 billion miles from Earth that looks to be shaped like a bowling pin. Flight controllers in Maryland declared success 10 hours after the high-risk, middle-of-the-night encounter at the mysterious body known as Ultima Thule on the frozen fringes of our solar system, an astounding 1 billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto. "I don't know about all of you, but I'm really liking this 2019 thing so far," lead scientist Alan Stern of Southwest Research Institute said to applause. "I'm here to tell you that last night, overnight, the United States spacecraft New Horizons conducted the farthest exploration in the history of humankind, and did so spectacula...
New Horizons: Nasa probe survives flyby of Ultima Thule

New Horizons: Nasa probe survives flyby of Ultima Thule

Science
The US space agency's New Horizons probe has made contact with Earth to confirm its successful flyby of the icy world known as Ultima Thule. The encounter occurred some 6.5bn km (4bn miles) away, making it the most distant ever exploration of an object in our Solar System. New Horizons acquired gigabytes of photos and other observations during the pass. It will now send these home over the coming months. The radio message from the robotic craft was picked up by one of Nasa's big antennas, in Madrid, Spain.It had taken fully six hours and eight minutes to traverse the great expanse of space between Ultima and Earth. Controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Phys...
Nasa's New Horizons probe on course for historic flyby

Nasa's New Horizons probe on course for historic flyby

Science
The American space agency's New Horizons probe remains on course for its daring flyby of Ultima Thule. When the mission sweeps past the 30km wide object on New Year's Day, it will be making the most distant ever visit to a Solar System body - at some 6.5 billion km from Earth. Mission planners decided at the weekend to forego a possible trajectory change.It means the probe will get to fly 3,500km from icy Ultima's surface to take a series of photos and other data. There had been some concern that the object might be surrounded by large debris particles which could destroy the probe if it were to run into them. But nothing of the sort has been detected and so a wider, safer pass will not be needed. ...
Huge asteroid zooms past Earth in historic fly-by

Huge asteroid zooms past Earth in historic fly-by

Technology
The biggest asteroid in more than a century has whizzed past Earth at a safe - but unusually close - distance.Asteroid Florence and its two orbiting moons passed 4.4 million miles from the planet, its closest encounter since 1890.It measures in at almost three miles wide - the size of 30 Egyptian pyramids stuck together - and experts predict that this was the closest the asteroid will be to Earth until 2500.Astronomers at the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico have released a video of the fly-by, and NASA is using radar images to study the asteroid's real size.Named after Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, the asteroid was discovered in 1981.Although collisions with Earth are rare, an asteroid the size of a car hits the Earth's atmosphere about once a year. However, it bu...