Queen rocker turned astrophysicist Brian May writes tribute to New Horizons

Queen rocker turned astrophysicist Brian May writes tribute to New Horizons

It even has a BB-8ish orangish-reddish color theme going on.

In a lengthy update by the New Horizons team, the group boasts that New Horizons sent back a signal to its handlers letting them know that it had filled its on-board recorders with a wealth of science data that it collected as it zoomed past Ultima Thule.

The close approach came a half-hour into the new year, and three years after New Horizons' unprecedented swing past Pluto. New images from varying perspectives - captured as the probe moved passed the object - will bring out shadows on the object surfaces, revealing its contours more clearly.

"That image is so 2018". It is very dark, reflecting only about 10 percent of the light that strikes it. "So we were basically chasing it down in the dark, at 32,000 miles an hour". According to Stern, the team has far less than one percent of all the data now onboard New Horizons in hand.

The probe won't start sending back most of its Ultima Thule info until next week, when the sun stops blocking its transmissions to Earth. The "neck" between the two lobes is particularly bright, perhaps because small, reflective particles tumbled into its crevasse, said Cathy Olkin, a deputy project scientist and planetary scientist at SwRI.

So far, no moons or rings have been detected, and there were no obvious impact craters in the latest photos, though there were a few apparent "divots" and suggestions of hills and ridges, scientists said. Kuiper belt objects "are the first planetesimals", he said.

The new images show Ultima to be a contact binary, consisting of two separate masses that became stuck together.

Chinese spacecraft makes first landing on moon's far side
The mission harbored some risk, because operators on Earth can not directly communicate with spacecraft on the moon's far side. While the Moon is relatively a stone's throw away from Earth (just 384,400km away), the far side has remained unexplored.

'Cricket in heaven will be enriched by sir's presence'
Besides grooming cricketers, such was his emphasis on discipline that many of proteges have developed into coaches of repute. Tendulkar continued: "Like many of his students, I learnt my ABCD of cricket under Sir's guidance".

Border agents fired tear gas into Mexico on New Year's Day
This most recent skirmish occur received much less coverage than the previous time that border skirmish that involved tear gas. The agency said it couldn't assist children attempting to cross the border because of the rocks being thrown at its officers.

NASA's New Horizons mission has sent back the first detailed images of the most distant object ever explored in the solar system, dubbed Ultima Thule, which lies four billion miles away. Then the balls would have been gently drawn together by their mutual gravitational attraction, he said. "These are the only remaining basic building blocks".

"Studying Ultima Thule is helping us understand how planets form-both those in our own Solar System and those orbiting other stars in our galaxy", he added.

In response to a reporter's question, Stern addressed the controversy head-on. He said Ultima Thule was selected as 2014 MU69's informal nickname because its ancient meaning provided a "wonderful meme for exploration". The statement was greeted by applause from news conference attendees.

This isn't the end of 2014 MU69's naming process: A formal title will need to be proposed to the International Astronomical Union. That process is likely to unfold over the next year, Stern said.

On Wednesday, NASA scientists shared newly downloaded data revealing the distant object at greater resolutions.

Check it out below, followed by a photo of the Queen guitarist with Alan Stern, the principal New Horizons mission investigator who personally requested May's musical talents.

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