Meet #UltimaThule! After flying by the most distant object ever explored, our New Horizons spacecraft beamed back the first pictures and science data. These new images, taken from as close as 17,000 miles, revealed that this object is a “contact binary,” consisting of two connected spheres:

The team says that the two spheres likely joined as early as 99 percent of the way back to the formation of the solar system, colliding no faster than two cars in a fender-bender. 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. Data from the New Year's Day flyby will continue to arrive over the next weeks and months, with much higher resolution images yet to come.
Shared publiclyView activity