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from the New Horizons flyby of 2014 MU69 are out, based on 10% of the data sent back by the probe so far.
For many at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, January 1 this year didn't mean a New Year's celebration. Instead, it meant the first arrival of data from New Horizons' visit to a small Kuiper Belt object. But, like its earlier flyby of Pluto, the probe was instructed to grab all the data it could and deal with getting it back to Earth later. The full set of everything New Horizons captured won't be available for more than a year yet. But with 10 percent of the total cache in hand, researchers decided they had enough to do the first analysis of 2014 MU69.
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Overall, 2014 MU69 looks exactly like what we'd hope for: a world that underwent some major changes immediately after its formation but has since become static, preserving its state largely as it was billions of years ago. Hopefully, more details on that state are sitting in storage on New Horizons. Because we're not likely to send something back to 2014 MU69 any time soon.
#Astronomy #Space #NewHorizons #Exploration #2014MU69 #UltimaThule #KuiperBeltObjects
Thanks! I'll be eager to see if subsequent analyses confirm my impression that the larger body appears to be composed of 6 smaller bodies stuck together with a 7th body "melted" onto the center. You can see the "melt" has flowed atop
the other six. You can also see the "melt" over the crater rim on the smaller body.