The researchers at NASA finds evidence of water, organics on Kuiper Belt object ‘Ultima Thule’
The researchers at NASA space agency has found evidence for a unique mixture of methanol, water ice, and organic molecules on the surface of Ultima Thule, which is located in the Kuiper Belt – beyond the orbit of Neptune. The mixture is very different from most icy objects explored previously by spacecraft. Ultima Thule (also known as 2014 MU69) is 4 billion miles from Earth and has captured scientists’ curiosity since they discovered it had a snowman-like appearance. It has two distinct, flat segments and is thought to be an “ancient relic,” likely forming “billions of years ago”. The research also sheds new light on Ultima Thule’s geology and composition. The 22-mile-long object probably formed after the two lobes orbited each other. However, it’s still unknown what caused them to merge into the object seen today. Scientists have also found new features on Ultima Thule, including several bright spots, patches and craters, including a 5-mile-wide depression that likely formed from some kind of impact.
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