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NASA New Horizons

Topics Covered:

  1. Awareness in space.


NASA New Horizons


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Ultima Thule and New Horizons- Key facts.


Context: NASA has captured the sharpest-ever image of Ultima Thule. The new image shows circular pieces of terrain, deep pits and other details that were previously elusive.


Key facts- Ultima Thule:

  • Ultima Thule is located in the Kuiper belt in the outermost regions of the Solar System, beyond the orbit of Neptune.
  • It measures approximately 30 km in diameter, and is irregularly shaped.
  • Ultima Thule has a reddish color, probably caused by exposure of hydrocarbons to sunlight over billions of years.
  • Ultima Thule belongs to a class of Kuiper belt objects called the “cold classicals”, which have nearly circular orbits with low inclinations to the solar plane.



New Horizons was launched on 19 January 2006, and has been travelling through space for the past nine years. New Horizon’s core science mission is to map the surfaces of Pluto and Charon, to study Pluto’s atmosphere and to take temperature readings.


Sources: the hindu.