Real-time video of the actual flyby is impossible, since it takes more than six hours for a signal sent from Earth to reach the spaceship, named New Horizons, and another six hours for the response to arrive.
The new year has started with a record-setting space mission by NASA. This incredible feat was possible because thousands of operations on the spacecraft worked in sync. "We've just accomplished the most distant flyby", she said. As such, it is "probably the best time capsule we've ever had for understanding the birth of our solar system and the planets in it", Stern said.
On Twitter, Nasa fans had a few other ideas about what Thule looks like. While it was originally reported that it would land on New Year's Eve, it is now more likely to be later in the week.
Capturing good images of the object could be tricky, as well. As New Horizons travels closer to the object, the pattern of light reflecting off of Ultima, or its light curve, is inconsistent. "Never before has a spacecraft explored something so far away", he said. "You can't get any better than that".
The NASA spacecraft that yielded the first close-up views of Pluto opened the new year at an even more distant world, a billion miles beyond.
"Ultima Thule is 17,000 times as far away as the "giant leap" of Apollo's lunar missions", Stern noted in an opinion piece in The New York Times.
"This mission represents to me the spirit of adventure, discovery and inquiry which is inherent in the human spirit", May said during the countdown to the flyby.
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But India's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has argued that the court ruling is an attack on Hindu values . Police sources confirmed to the Times of India that plain-clothed police personnel accompanied the two women inside the temple.
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They are continuing inspections for the rest of the airport's jet bridges, at the direction of transportation secretary Pete K. Passengers on board the flight involved with the jet bridge incident described the situation as "traumatic".
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The vehicle was stopped by police, and the man driving the auto was detained after being "overwhelmed" by the police. During the incident, Eurocontrol said that the airport would be closed to takeoffs and landings until 8 pm.
Scientists believe there should be no rings or moons around Ultima Thule that might endanger New Horizons. Because of the government shutdown, which includes NASA, the agency's acting director of planetary science, Lori Glaze was attending as a private citizen and could not speak in her official role.
But even as the world awaits news from the far reaches of the solar system, New Horizons has once again made it to the history books.
'This is what leadership in space exploration is all about'. Cold classicals are relatively unchanged relics from the solar system's beginnings, more than 4.5 billion years ago.
The Kuiper Belt is the edge of our solar system, part of the original disk from which the sun and planets formed.
The first signal back to Earth should come about 10 hours after the fly-by, around 9:45am (10:45pm Hong Kong time).
Scattered amongst the crowd are those who will carry on New Horizons' legacy - I've spotted team members from Nasa's Osiris-ReX spacecraft which entered orbit around the asteroid Bennu yesterday, and the leaders of upcoming missions to a unusual metal asteroid called Psyche and to the trojan asteroids that share an orbit with Jupiter. The New Horizons mission was extended in 2016 to visit this Kuiper Belt object. The mission team expects the data to be returned over the next 20 months, with an additional year of data analysis and archiving.
Scientists chose to study Ultima Thule with New Horizons after the spaceship, which was launched in 2006, completed its main mission of flying by Pluto in 2015, returning the most detailed images ever taken of the dwarf planet.
The latest image of Ultima Thule from New Horizons, taken on December 30, 2018, when the spacecraft was at a distance of 1.9 million kilometres.