Congrats to NASA and the New Horizons team! Their brave space robot reached (the planet) Pluto, delivered awesome goods, and went on to explore a much more distant Kuiper belt object: 2014 MU69 (fondly nicknamed Ultima Thule).
It made the journey safely and sped past its destination (at 14 kilometers per second!) on New Year’s Day. We’ve gotten the first close pictures back of the most distant object ever seen by us denizens of the third big rock out.
It looks like a snowman. A red snowman.
Or maybe a fossilized Star Wars robot, MU-69.
In any event, it’s darling and awesome! What a nice little present to start off the new year. It’ll only get better as more data rolls in (over the next two years).
Just consider that this is what we had a day ago:
Shout out to Emily Lakdawalla and her great blog at Planetary Society. In addition to NASA itself, if you’re at all interested in this stuff, she’s one to follow for sure!