ウルティマトゥーレ最初の画像公開

NASAアメリカ航空宇宙局(National Aeronautics and Space Administration)のニューホライズンズ(New Horizo​​ns)宇宙船はウルティマトゥーレ(Ultima Thule)の最初の画像を公開。

ウルティマトゥーレ(Ultima Thule)に関するデータを受信し、アメリカ合衆国時間現地時間予定通りAM10:29(EST)にジョンズ・ホプキンス応用物理研究所(APL)のミッションオペレーションセンターへ。

New Horizons: First Images of Ultima Thule JHU Applied Physics Laboratory

The New Horizons team shares the first image of Ultima Thule, as well as updates on spacecraft status and flyby success, from the Mission Operations Center at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.

New Horizons press briefing: spacecraft status, latest images and data download schedule

The New Horizons team shares the first image of Ultima Thule, as well as updates on spacecraft status and flyby success, from the Mission Operations Center at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.

Panelists include Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Alice Bowman, New Horizons mission operations manager, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory; Hal Weaver, New Horizons project scientist, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory; Chris Hersman, New Horizons mission systems engineer, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

January 1, 2019
New Horizons Successfully Explores Ultima Thule
NASA Spacecraft Reaches Most Distant Target in History

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew past Ultima Thule in the early hours of New Year’s Day, ushering in the era of exploration from the enigmatic Kuiper Belt, a region of primordial objects that holds keys to understanding the origins of the solar system.

“Congratulations to NASA’s New Horizons team, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and the Southwest Research Institute for making history yet again. In addition to being the first to explore Pluto, today New Horizons flew by the most distant object ever visited by a spacecraft and became the first to directly explore an object that holds remnants from the birth of our solar system,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “This is what leadership in space exploration is all about.”

Signals confirming the spacecraft is healthy and had filled its digital recorders with science data on Ultima Thule reached the mission operations center at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) today at 10:29 a.m. EST, almost exactly 10 hours after New Horizons’ closest approach to the object.

“New Horizons performed as planned today, conducting the farthest exploration of any world in history — 4 billion miles from the Sun,” said Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “The data we have look fantastic and we’re already learning about Ultima from up close. From here out the data will just get better and better!”

Images taken during the spacecraft’s approach — which brought New Horizons to within just 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) of Ultima at 12:33 a.m. EST — revealed that the Kuiper Belt object may have a shape similar to a bowling pin, spinning end over end, with dimensions of approximately 20 by 10 miles (32 by 16 kilometers). Another possibility is Ultima could be two objects orbiting each other. Flyby data have already solved one of Ultima’s mysteries, showing that the Kuiper Belt object is spinning like a propeller with the axis pointing approximately toward New Horizons. This explains why, in earlier images taken before Ultima was resolved, its brightness didn’t appear to vary as it rotated. The team has still not determined the rotation period.

As the science data began its initial return to Earth, mission team members and leadership reveled in the excitement of the first exploration of this distant region of space.

“New Horizons holds a dear place in our hearts as an intrepid and persistent little explorer, as well as a great photographer,” said Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Director Ralph Semmel. “This flyby marks a first for all of us — APL, NASA, the nation and the world — and it is a great credit to the bold team of scientists and engineers who brought us to this point.”