New Horizon Spacecraft With Blaine Dickey

Apr 23, 2019

The New Horizon Spacecraft was launched on its journey to the outer solar system on January 19, 2006. It arrived at the minor planet Pluto more than nine years later on July 14, 2015. It revealed an amazing amount of detail about Pluto that was previously unknown, such as kilometer high mountains made of solid ice, craters, cry-o-volcanoes, and plains made of nitrogen ice.

The Hubble Space Telescope was employed to find an object in the Kuiper belt beyond Pluto so that New Horizon could explore that region of the Solar system as well. It discovered an object named 2014 MU69 later nicknamed Ultima Thule. There was enough fuel in the New Horizon Spacecraft to divert it towards this object.

On January 1st of this year, New Horizon successfully flew by Ultima Thule (Thoo-Le) and with its seven instruments recorded data of this object. The images of the object resembled a snowman, but as the spacecraft flew by it was noticed that the object was more flat than spherical. The material in the Kuiper Belt has remained frozen since the formation of the solar system and has not been affected much by radiation from the sun. New Horizons will continue to monitor other Kuiper belt objects as it continues its journey through the outer regions of our solar system.