Pictures from NASA's farthest flyby reveal space 'snowman'

The first full-fledged images of 2014 MU69 showcase an icy world that's actually made of two primordial parts.

Days ago, a leftover from the solar system's formation was minding its own business more than a billion miles beyond Neptune's orbit. Then, just as humans back on Earth celebrated the new year, a robotic explorer—NASA's New Horizons spacecraft—flew by the object at ten miles a second, snapping pictures and beaming them back home.

Today, the New Horizons team shared with the world the first full-fledged images of the space rock, which is officially called 2014 MU69 and nicknamed by the team Ultima Thule.

“It was just a day and a half ago, barely 36 hours, that New Horizons swept down over Ultima Thule in a technical success beyond anything ever attempted before in spaceflight,” New Horizons principal investigator

DON'T MISS THE REST OF THIS STORY!
Create a free account to continue and get unlimited access to hundreds of Nat Geo articles, plus newsletters.

Create your free account to continue reading

No credit card required. Unlimited access to free content.
Or get a Premium Subscription to access the best of Nat Geo - just $19
SUBSCRIBE

Read This Next

Is banning fishing bad for fishermen? Not in this marine reserve
SeaWorld allegedly violated the Animal Welfare Act. Why is it still open?
'World’s worst shipwreck' was bloodier than we thought

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet