The celestial body Ultima Thule is situated six and a half billion kilometers from earth and is thus situated at the border of our solar system. It is now up to fly the Nasa probe “New Horizons” of Ultima Thule in the past.

It is a milestone for the research: Never before scientists were able to investigate such a distant celestial body. The probe survived the risky Mission without prejudice.

On the service in the afternoon, the Nasa experts received the confirmation that the flyby was successful. The probe sent signals back to earth, to announce that she has survived the Mission unscathed. “We have a healthy spacecraft,” said mission Manager Alice Bowman. The researchers are now waiting for pictures and data of the probe, which completed its flight with a speed of more than 50,000 kilometres per hour.

the Ultima Thule is located in a dark and cold space region called the Kuiper belt. The researchers hope to gain from the “New Horizons”-data in understanding the formation of planets.

A real-time Video of the Mission was not possible, because it will take more than six hours, until a Signal from earth reaches the spacecraft. Six more hours are added for the Transmission of the response.

Multimedia-special Reuters journey through the solar system: you are now leaving the earth

“This night is not one of us forget,” said Queen guitarist Brian May, who has a degree in astrophysics and, more recently, with a new Song, the Nasa probe “New Horizons” tribute has been paid. Ultima Thule was unique because it was a relic from the early days of the solar system and the answers to the origin of other planets could provide.

Ultima Thule was discovered, 2014, with the help of the space telescope “Hubble”. Researchers do not yet know how the Ultima Thule looks like – whether there are craters or the surface is rather smooth, if it consists of only one object or several.

Nasa released on Monday a pixelated and blurry image, this was taken from a distance of just under two million kilometres. It’s fascinating to researchers because it seems to show a rather long drawn-out space of the object, and not a round.


The probe “New Horizons” should be your only a few seconds duration of flight to Ultima Thule the over 900 pictures. These clearer images are expected to arrive in the following three days. “New Horizons” had already delivered in 2015 spectacular photos of the dwarf planet Pluto.

humanity had known it until, in the nineties, nothing of the existence of the Kuiper belt in the outer space, said Hal Weaver from the Johns Hopkins research center. “We have finally reached the edge of the solar system – the things that were there from the beginning, and hardly to have changed, as we believe. We’ll find out.”


Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.