NASA Spacecraft Begins Farthest Planetary Journey Ever

Washington, Jun 12 (Prensa Latina) NASA”s New Horizons spacecraft began the farthest planetary voyage in history, a journey towards Ultima Thule-2014 MU 69, a mysterious irregular object located in the Kuiper Belt, digital media reported.
Revealing the primitive body’s features is the aim of the probe, which had been inactive since December 21 to save resources and executed the commands of the on-board computer to wake up from hibernation on June 5 when it was located at 6,100 million kilometers from Earth.

Upon awakening, the spacecraft worked normally and with all the systems recovered, which allows to forecast that on January 1, 2019, it will flyby Ultima Thule, said Alice Bowman, New Horizons’ mission operations manager.

For the journey, the scientists collected navigation tracking data and already sent the first of many commands to the New Horizons’s computer to begin preparations for the flyby.

This process includes memory updates, a series of scientific instrument records and the recovery of data from the Kuiper Belt, the vast field of waste coming from the Solar System formation.

Bowman reported that next August the spacecraft will initiate distant observations, images that will help refine the course.

The information gathered in this expedition will allow the scientific community to learn more about how the planets were built, said the expert.

In 2015, the New Horizons -the third fastest man-made spacecraft after the Voyager twins- made a historic flight over Pluto and its moons.

The spacecraft will remain active until the end of 2020, after it transmits all the data of the mission and complete other scientific observations about the Kuiper Belt.

Ultima Thule was discovered in June 2014 by the Hubble Space Telescope, during a preliminary inspection to find a suitable destination for the New Horizons’ flyby.


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