NASA’s New Horizons mission, it sheds a new light on how planets form

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NASA’s New Horizons mission is to provide scientists with a new understanding of how planets form.

The mission statement is the promotion of scientific knowledge in the formation of the planetesimals, which in the us as “the building blocks of the planets in the sky.”

In a statement, the space agency explained that on Jan. 1, 2019, the New Horizons spacecraft flew past an object in the Kuiper Belt, which is called Arrokoth or 2014 MU69. The flyby, which took place more than 4 billion miles from Earth, has provided a wealth of detailed information about the Arrokoth shape, form, geological, botanical, color, and composition, according to NASA.


“Arrokoth, it is the most remote and the most primitive and the most iconic object, has ever been examined by a spacecraft, so we knew it would be a unique story to tell,” said New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., the explanation for this. “It is for us to learn how the planetesimals are formed, and we believe that the result will mark a significant step forward in the understanding of the total planetesimal and planet formation.”

Composite image of Arrokoth of the New Horizons Spacecraft Data

Images from the spacecraft’s flyby to show that the Arrokoth has two connected lobes, with a smooth surface and a uniform composition. Through an examination of the data provided by the New Horizons scientists have worked out that the lobes were in the past the separate organs, which are formed close to each other, and at a low speed, circled each other, and then carefully merged to create a 22-mile-long object that the New Horizons have been observed,” NASA said.

This shows that Arrokoth formed by gravity-driven collapse of a cloud of solid particles in the primordial solar nebula, rather than the competing theory of planetesimal formation, the so-called hierarchical growth,” the space agency explained. “In contrast to the high-speed collisions between planetesimals, in a hierarchical growth in the particle cloud to collapse, the particles merge with caution, slowly, slowly larger and larger.”


The scientists presented their findings in three papers in the journal Science.

“It’s as if the fossils tell us how species evolved on Earth, the planetesimals will tell us how the planets formed and are in the area,” said William McKinnon, New Horizons co-investigator from the University of Washington and in California. Louis, and lead author of a Arrokoth a paper in Science in general. “Arrokoth to see the way in which it is not, because it is formed due to violent collisions, but that’s more of a complicated dance, in which the constituent objects are slowly circled each other in order to come together as a team.”

In the first instance (and slightly controversial) called “Ultima Thule”, the object was officially named Arrokoth, which means “sky” in the Powhatan/Algonquian language, in a ceremony held on Nov. 19, 2019 at the latest.


The New Horizons mission launched in January 2006. The truck is now at 4.4 billion kilometers from Earth.


The Johns Hopkins university Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., designed and built New Horizons, and the maintenance of the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Southwest Research Institute leads the New Horizons science team and the payload operations.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers.

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