No evidence of atmosphere in Ultima Thule, confirms NASA

Ultima Thule

NASA, the United States space agency has confirmed that there is no evidence of atmosphere in Ultima Thule, a space body in the ancient Kuiper belt. Researchers at NASA made this conclusion after analyzing the data provided by the New Horizons spacecraft.

New Horizons mission is considered one of the milestone space probes ever in human history. The space probe recently completed its farthest flyby on January 01, when it came within about 3500 kilometres of Ultima Thule. Results from this flyby also suggested that there are no rings or satellites larger than one mile in diameter orbiting Ultima Thule.

However, the colour of Ultima Thule matches the colour of similar space bodies in the Kuiper Belt, as determined by telescopic measurements. The two lobes of Ultima Thule have similar colours, and this factor falls in line with scientists' previous speculations about binary systems. NASA had also released the first pictures of Ultima Thule and the shape of this distant space body resembled a reddish snowman.

"The first exploration of a small Kuiper Belt object and the most distant exploration of any world in history is now history, but almost all of the data analysis lies in the future," said Alen Stren, a top scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, Fox News reports.

Data transmission from the spacecraft will be paused for a while in the coming days, as the spacecraft passes behind the sun. NASA added that data transmission will be resumed on January 10, and from then, more stunning details about Ultima Thule will be sent to the earth by the New Horizons spacecraft.

Ultima Thule (Greece-Latin term for a place beyond the known world) is the farthest object in the solar system ever explored by humans. It is located in the so-called Kuiper belt or Twilight zone, and it is located much farther than Neptune.