IN early January, the Nasa probe New Horizons flew past the Ultima Thule asteroid and sent back photos of it. In them, the asteroid looked like two connected balls and people believed it was snowman-shaped.
But after looking at the newest data and photos, Nasa now says that the two parts of the asteroid are not round, but flat. In other words, Ultima Thule does not look like a snowman, but a gingerbread man.
Scientists determined that it was flat by how the light from background stars shined on the asteroid. The head of the New Horizons team, Alan Stern, said that although the probe has not sent many images back, its data has changed the team’s view of the asteroid. He added that no one has ever seen such a shape for an asteroid before.
(This article is published on Goodies on 20 February 2019)