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Nationalist Pundit

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NASA New Horizons New Year Encounter

by Andrew Zarowny, 12/31/2018


While many of us will be deep in our hang overs on New Years Eve night, NASA has a treat for us space buffs on January 1, 2019. The New Horizons space probe will have an encounter with the most distant, named object in our solar system tomorrow. The spacecraft will fly-by Ultima Thule before exiting the solar system. This asteroid or planetoid is some 4 Billion miles away from the Sun and takes over a 1,000 years to orbit it. Also known as 2014 MU69, this worldlet is a billion miles further away from the Sun than Pluto is. The New Horizons spacecraft encountered Pluto 3 years ago in a fly-by. At 12:33 am EDT, New Year Day, New Horizons will pass Ultima Thule by some 2,200 miles.




NASA will broadcast the event live on NASA TV. Most of the action will take place at the John Hopkins Applied Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. However, due to the distance, a radio signal will take some 6 hours to reach Earth. Add to that the issue of the spacecraft being aligned to study Ultima Thule with its sensors. So, New Horizons will not transmit any data for several hours after the encounter. Scientists expect a signal to arrive sometime between 9:45am and 10:45am January 1. More than enough time to wake up and have a few cups of coffee and some aspirin. A single, high resolution picture may take longer, probably not digitally assembled till the next day.


In fact, scientists expect that it will take New Horizons some 20 months to download and transmit all of the data it acquires during its fly-by of Ultima-Thule. You′re going to have to be very patient on this one! Not that many of you are probably big fans of 2014 MU69. A complete gallery of photos and fun facts about this distant space object will take at least 2 or 3 years before released to the public. After this encounter, the NASA New Horizons spacecraft will fly through the Kuiper Belt and Ort Cloud before eventually make its way into interstellar space, becoming the 5th space probe to do so.


For more REAL NEWS and views follow Andrew Zarowny on Twitter @mrcapitalist. Also follow Andy at his own website, and look for his new blogs at Support this website via Patreon.

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