NASA released pictures of ‘Ultima Thule,’ the farthest cosmic body ever explored by a spacecraft. The New Horizons spacecraft took pictures of this cosmic object 6.5 billion kilometres away from the Earth and it looked like a giant reddish snowman.
This icy celestial body was discovered via telescope in 2014. Before these images were released, scientists believed that the body was oblong, resembling either a peanut or a bowling pin. However, with the new pictures, the ambiguity regarding its shape has been put to rest.
It is made up of two lobes that give it the shape of a snowman. The larger of the two is called ‘Ultima’ and the smaller one is called ‘Thule.’ Ultima is three times the volume of Thule. Also, the object is 33 kilometres in length.
This expedition set a record for the most distant object ever explored in the Solar System, 1.5 billion kilometres father than the previous one. The previous record was also held by New Horizons spacecraft when it flew past Pluto in 2015.