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