New images of the distant Ultima Thule object have surprised scientists

Back in early January, when scientists pulled down their first batch of data from the New Horizons spacecraft, they celebrated an odd snowman-shaped object in the outer Solar System. From this first look, it appeared as though Ultima Thule, formally named 2014 MU69, consisted of two spheres in contact with one another—a contact binary.

Now that scientists have downloaded more data from the distant spacecraft, however, our view of Ultima Thule has changed.

Pluto Probe Encounters a Pristine World in the Solar System’s Suburbs

Ultima Thule, the most-distant object ever visited by a spacecraft, is revealing our solar system’s deepest history—and, just maybe, revolutionizing planetary science…