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Tag: Horizons

New Horizons spacecraft ‘alters theory of planet formation’

New Horizons spacecraft ‘alters theory of planet formation’

Science
Scientists say they have "decisively" overturned the prevailing theory for how planets in our Solar System formed.The established view is that material violently crashed together to form ever larger clumps until they became worlds.New results suggest the process was less catastrophic - with matter gently clumping together instead.The study appears in Science journal and has been presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Seattle.The study's lead researcher, Dr Alan Stern, said that the discovery was of "stupendous magnitude". "There was the prevailing theory from the late 1960s of violent collisions and a more recent emerging theory o...
Nasa's New Horizons: 'Space snowman' appears squashed

Nasa's New Horizons: 'Space snowman' appears squashed

Science
It seems the "space snowman" is more like a "gingerbread man".Scientists studying the distant object known as Ultima Thule are revising ideas about its shape after examining the latest images downlinked to Earth.The pictures, taken by the New Horizons probe on 1 January, show the apparently bulbous body to be quite flat.This interpretation is evident from the data acquired by the Nasa spacecraft when it looked back at icy Ultima Thule as it zoomed past at 50,000km/h.The small world appears dark apart from a crescent of sunlight along its limb. But scientists can tell from the way background stars blink on and off where its edges are.Rather than being two relatively spherical bodies in contact with each other, Ultima Thule in this...
Nasa's New Horizons: Best image yet of 'space snowman' Ultima Thule

Nasa's New Horizons: Best image yet of 'space snowman' Ultima Thule

Science
The New Horizons probe has sent back its best picture yet of the small, icy object Ultima Thule, which it flew past on New Year's Day.The image was acquired when the Nasa spacecraft was just 6,700km from its target, which scientists think is two bodies lightly fused together - giving the look of a snowman.Surface details are now much clearer. New Horizons' data is coming back very slowly, over the next 20 months.This is partly to do with the great distance involved (the separation is 6.5 billion km) but is also limited by the small power output of the probe's transmitter and the size (and availability) of the receive antennas here on Earth. It all makes for glacial bit rates.The new image was obtained with New Horizons' ...
NASA's New Horizons shares clearest image yet of Ultima Thule

NASA's New Horizons shares clearest image yet of Ultima Thule

Science
Jan. 25 (UPI) -- NASA has released the most high-resolution image of Ultima Thule captured by the space agency's New Horizons probe. The image was taken on Jan. 1, but scientists working on the mission only recently processed the photograph. The newly released photo was taken using New Horizon's Multicolor Visible Imaging Camera just before the probe reached its closest approach with the Kuiper belt object. Back on Earth, scientists used an image processing technique called deconvolution to make the photo even clearer. Early this month, scientists confirmed that Ultima Thule is a contact binary, a snowman-shaped amalgamation of two spheres. The duo likely came together and fused several hundred million years ago. Thanks to the new image and image processing, scientists are getting a close...
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...