PASADENA – NASA’s New Horizons completed a recent fly-by of a deep-space celestial body on New Year’s Day, revealing a stark new world outside our own.
“It’s remarkable,” said Jet Propulsion Lab specialist Martin Hurley. “It’s just a rock. Just a plain, uninteresting rock. We weren’t expecting anything like it.”
After its ground-breaking success in photographing Pluto’s fascinating geological features, NASA turned the cameras and sensors of New Horizons towards Ultima Thule, a distant, cold, rocky object hurtling through our solar system. On January 1, 2019, the spacecraft completed its fly-by, and is expected to transmit data for the coming months and years.
“Now this is all just preliminary data,” said Hurley, poring over reams of dot-matrix paper, “but what we’re seeing here is unlike anything we’ve seen so far in our solar system.”
Measuring approximately 19 miles in length, Ultima Thule is comprised of two spherical bodies, not unlike a figure eight in shape. It was discovered several years ago, and has been a source of interest to astrophysicists since then.
“We’ve been watching (486958) 2014 MU69 since 2014,” said astrophysicist Ken Wallard, pushing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose. “But we were delighted to find that there seems to be absolutely nothing interesting about this cold snowball hurtling through space. It’s a rock. A cold, dead rock. Finally, one mystery that doesn’t need solving.”
At press time, NASA could not be reached for further comment, as all of its representatives were reportedly out living their lives.
by Pembry Cornish