At the @NewHorizons2015 party!! Tweets in this thread:
We were just shown the first image of Pluto, and it looks like this 👇😲
After New Horizons swung by Pluto, here's what we got
Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/@Alex_Parker
So @AlanStern tells us we do this so that we can see objects that are really *really* far away!
Imagine what we'll see when it swings by #UltimaThule!! Will it br this weird peanut-shaped object? We'll see!
"Pluto: the gatekeeper to the Kuiper Belt." This *has* to be made into a slogan!
Ultima Thule is a remnant of the formation of the solar system, THIS IS SO IMPORTANT
It's like 30 km across: this is where #UltimaThule would fit near Baltimore and APL!!
Because of its tiny size, it makes it that much harder to target!! They don't really know exactly where it is so this one's a tough one!
Fun fact: New Horizons will fly by Ultima Thule at 14 km/s; if that doesn't sound fast, then let's put it this way: it's over fifty THOUSAND km per hour!! And about 30,000 miles per hour. It's FAAAAST!
Looking for rings (!!) and moons around Ultima Thule, too!
"Ultima Thule is the best time capsule". I love how @AlanStern put it!
"There are no second chances for New Horizons." YOU WILL DO IT, NEW HORIZONS!
The LORRI instrument is how Ultima Thule was first seen
Love this video of Ultima Thule. So cool
Oof, downlink time will go on for ~20 months. But that means LOTS OF SCIENCE COMING FOR LONGER. YASSS
Thanks Hubble, for helping us track Ultima Thule! 💖 #LoveHubble
Last course correction was Dec 18, and final image for trajectory was Dec 30. So, with all this *hopefully* they're on target and we'll watch New Horizons swing by this tiny bit extra special Kuiper Belt Object 🤞
*last course correction was Dec 14, not 18. Sorry!
Okay, geology and mapping! This is super important so that we can figure out what it's made of and its formation. Also trying to figure out why KBOs seem dark and red... interesting!
Whoa, this is the resolution expected. How amazing is that
Awww that email =') NASA wants to take part in this so bad. But the shutdown =(
NASA was the FIRST to reach *all* the planets, from Mercury all the way to Pluto 🙌 #GoNASA
Chemical reactions are frozen at the distance of Ultima Thule, which is why it's pretty much exactly as it was when it first formed. This will fit a missing puzzle piece to the picture of the formation of the solar system.
I'm okay with waiting for the pale blue dot image =') so much more special.
But makes total sense, if they're gonna risk burning the camera lens it has to be after the science is done.
They're receiving a *fifteen watt signal* from 4 billion miles away. Fifteen watts!! That's insane
There it is: 14.4 km/s!! At its speed It'll eventually escape the solar system.
All the things we've learned thus far about the solar system are from objects that probably underwent change/moved from their formation. Studying Ultima Thule will fill the puzzle piece giving us info on the primordial solar system. (From @Alex_Parker)
The spacecraft is being powered and heated by the decay of uranium to plutonium!
Most of this uranium will decay away eventually and New Horizons won't be able to get warm enough to stay alive. This will be its end, sometime in the 2030s
(The last two cool factoids were from Gabe Rogers)
Ultima Thule is probably way too small to have a magnetic field. Magnetic fields are formed in planets with liquid cores, but Ultima Thule is so small it's probably frozen right through
Oops: the decay is plutonium to uranium! Sorry friends!
So excited for the sample return on Bennu!
Omg the trojan mission!! So cool
Wow Trojans might have some outer solar system stuff in them as they were probably formed in a different place than they are today.
Psyche is 95% metal!! It would totally make sense that it collided with sn object as a planetesimal and got stripped of its outer layers.
"Technological miracles". That's what these spacecraft are. Perfectly said, Londa Elkins-Tanton 💖
Oh my, the Psyche mission is to launch in 2022, and Linda wants to make it the biggest launch party ever! I'M IN
Everyone, the PI of Psyche is on twitter @ltelkins!!
It's amazing what humans can do when they work together to explore other worlds.
Ultima Thule has a nearly circular orbit that's in line with the plane of the planets. That amazes me.
So we just heard @DrBrianMay's new song, and it was so cool
8 minutes till closest approach!!
3 minutes! #UltimaThule
1 minute till history is made
New Horizons just flew by Ultima Thule at 32000 mph. History has been made!
20 months to get all the data taken by New Horizons. But we'll get our first bits tomorrow!!
Congratulations to the @NewHorizons2015 team! Thanks @AlanStern @Alex_Parker and so many of you for breaking boundaries and exploring space far beyond!
Oh this is actually a pretty important point: the DSN is downloading data from New Horizons at about half the rate it did when it was at Pluto. At Pluto, it was 1 kilobit/s, and now at Ultima Thule, it's halved to 501 bits/s.
No contact with New Horizons since last night's flyby; waiting for it to phone home and tell us everything is okay!! 🤞🤞🤞
10:30 is when the signal should come. That is, about 6 minutes from now, we'll receive the signal New Horizons sent us *six hours ago* telling us what's going on. Hopefully, it'll say "I'm okay, and Ultima Thule is beautiful!"
Do you think Ultima Thule will be
Patiently waiting
Alright!! Here we go
Fantastic support
This is a HUGE DEAL: we really had *no idea* whether New Horizons actually made it to Ultima Thule or not. The target is so small it was very difficult to get. So YOU REALLY NEED TO BE JUMPING UP AND DOWN RIGHT NOW HISTORY HAS OFFICIALLY BEEN MADE
The whole team is walking through. We're all cheering. So many people have made @NewHorizons2015 a success 💖
Here it is: the first image of Ultima Thule and it's a 🥜
High res images will come tomorrow, so hold tight: we're getting way more than this!
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