Prelims Level
Mains Level
Prelims Syllabus : Space Mains Syllabus : GS 3: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nanotechnology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Context:

  • A NASA spacecraft ‘New Horizons’ flew past the most distant world ever studied by humankind, Ultima Thule, a frozen relic of the early solar system that could reveal how planets formed.

Details:

  • Ultima Thule is located in the Kuiper belt in the outermost regions of the Solar System, beyond the orbit of Neptune. Ultima Thule is unique because it is a relic from the early days of the Solar System and could provide answers about the origin of the other planets. The spaceship was to collect 900 images over the course of a few seconds as it shaved by at a distance of about 2,000 miles (3,500 kilometres).
  • These photographs would help in better understanding of the Solar System

About New Horizons:

  • New Horizons is an interplanetary space probe that was launched as a part of NASA’s New Frontiers program. It aims to understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of the dwarf planet Pluto and by venturing deeper into the distant, mysterious Kuiper Belt – a relic of solar system formation.As part of an extended mission, the spacecraft head farther into the Kuiper Belt, to study MU69 another
    of the ancient, icy mini-worlds in that vast region, at least a billion miles beyond Neptune’s orbit.
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