NASA’s New Horizons probe has till date conducted the farthest flight of reaching the Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, which is approximately 4 billion miles from Earth. The object has been dubbed Arrokoth on an official basis. Arrokoth stands for the sky in the Powhatan and Algonquian language. The name was officially declared at NASA’s headquarters in Washington. The planetary object was earlier referred to as Ultima Thule. The New Horizons team had chosen the Ultima Thule. It meant something that lies beyond what is known. New Horizons is found to be one of the best raw exploration carried out till date. The nickname Ultima Thule was provided on a temporary basis.
Thus, it is now that the name ‘Arrokoth’ has been permanently given. The name was handed over to the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Minor Planet Center for approval of the name. The naming of the objects in space is basically done by IAU. As the Hubble Space Telescope and New Horizons mission both operate from Maryland, the team thought of finding a name that can connect cultures of the Powhatan tribe and the Chesapeake Bay region to the space missions. It was in 2014 that the Hubble Space Telescope found Arrokoth with the help of the New Horizons team. In 2015, the New Horizons mission was able to flyby Pluto and Charon plus meet Arrokoth in January. The data collected shows Arrokoth to be an icy object present 1 billion miles past Pluto in the Kuiper Belt. It looks like two connected lobes. This object can help us better understand the origin of life on Earth.
Similarly, the New Horizons spacecraft was sent to study Pluto in the summer of 2015. Since then the Pluto and its moons are being scrutinized. The mission helped explore the side of Pluto that never faces its moon Charon and has Sputnik Planitia. The high resolution images Pluto’s far side was captured. The images of the encounter hemisphere were captured using the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and the Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC.)
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