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THE SPATIAL SHIP COVERED THE LAST OBJECT WAS NEVER EXPLORED



AFP Agency

NASA's unmanned spacecraft, "New Horizon", will start the year by flying over historical goals: frozen remains of the solar system which is about 6,400 million kilometers it is the farthest place ever studied.

Cosmic object, known as Ultima Thule, is about the size of Washington, the capital of the United States, and orbiting in the dark and cold Kuiper Belt, about one billion miles outside the smallest planet, Pluto.

The closest approach will be on January 1 at 0533 GMT. Until then, how it looked and how it was formed is still a mystery.

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"This is a time capsule that will take us 4.5 billion years ago, until the birth of the solar system", said Alan Stern, principal investigator of the project at the Southwest Research Institute, during a press conference on Friday.

A camera on the spacecraft is currently focused Ultima Thuleso that scientists can have better ideas about their shapes and formations, whether objects or several.

"We have never been in an object like this before"said Kelsi Singer, a researcher at "New Horizons" at the Southwest Research Institute.

Almost the day before, "we will begin to see what the actual shape of the object is," he explained.

The ship entered "meeting mode" on December 26 and was "very healthy," Stern added.

Communication with the ship so far requires six hours and eight minutes on each side, or 12 hours 15 minutes, round trip.

On January 1 at 10:29 am (15h29 GMT) date "House phone" New Horizons, which will show if it survives the approach, at a distance of only 3,500 kilometers.

Until then, the New Horizon continued to travel through space at 51,500 kilometers per hour, traveling nearly one million miles per day.

NASA scientists anxiously waited for the first picture.

"Because this is an excessive flight mission, we only have one chance to do it right"said Alice Bowman, operations manager for the New Horizons mission.

The spacecraft, which was launched in 2006, captured impressive images of Pluto when flying across the planet in 2015.

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