A New Ultima Thule Picture

This image, taken during the New Year’s flyby of Ultima Thule, the first small Kuiper Belt Object ever explored by a spacecraft. This image was taken when the KBO was 6,700 km from the New Horizons spacecraft. The original image with resolution of 135 m per pixel was stored in the spacecraft’s data memory and transmitted to Earth on the 18th and 19th of January. A process known as deconvolution was used to enhance the image.

The oblique lighting reveals new topographic details along the day/night boundary near the top. There several small pits as large as 700 m in diameter. The large circular feature, about 7 km across on the smaller lobe, appears to be a deep depression. Evidence as to whether these are impact craters or other sorts of features is inconclusive for now.

Image Credits: NASA / JHUASPL / SWRI

1 thought on “A New Ultima Thule Picture

  1. My first thought was that it was an impact crater. But if something hit it with enough force to make that big of a hole you would think Thule would be spinning like a top. Or at worst have the small end cleaved off from the impact.

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