Ultima Thule is one of the most distant objects from the Earth that has ever been observed by humans. The first photos of the asteroid were taken this year, revealing its flat shape.
After receiving photos of Ultima Thule at the end of January, experts from NASA decided that it was shaped like a dumbbell, but their first impression was wrong. The New Horizons spacecraft recently took some new photos of the asteroid, from a distance of 8000 km. Upon closer inspection, scientists have established the true shape of this mysterious object.
Instead of being rounded, as previously assumed, it is actually made up of two flat parts. Furthermore, each part has a different degree of flatness. Scientists are reluctant to make a statement about the asteroid’s exact dimensions, because the lighting is uneven in all photos, creating a high risk of error.
According to research leader Alan Stern, Ultima Thule raises many questions. Scientists don’t yet understand how an object with such a strange shape could appear in the solar system. Maybe, in time, the invention of more advanced equipment will solve this mystery, along with the many other enigmas of space.
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