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New Horizons Spacecraft Returns Its Sharpest Views of ­ltima Thule


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Ultima Thule

The most detailed images of Ultima Thule--obtained just minutes before the spacecraft's closest approach at 12:33 a.m. EST on Jan. 1--have a resolution of about 110 feet (33 meters) per pixel. Their combination of higher spatial resolution and a favorable viewing geometry offer an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the surface of Ultima Thule, believed to be the most primitive object ever encountered by a spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute, National Optical Astronomy Observatory

The mission team called it a "stretch goal—just before closest approach, precisely pointing the cameras on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft to snap the sharpest possible pictures of the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule, its New Year's flyby target and the farthest object ever explored.

From NASA
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