The Kuiper Belt is a distant region of the outer Solar System. On 1 January 2019, the New Horizons spacecraft flew close to (486958) 2014 MU69, a cold classical Kuiper Belt object approximately 30 kilometers in diameter. Such objects have never been substantially heated by the Sun and are therefore well preserved since their formation. We describe initial results from these encounter observations. MU69 is a bilobed contact binary with a flattened shape, discrete geological units, and noticeable albedo heterogeneity. However, there is little surface color or compositional heterogeneity. No evidence for satellites, rings or other dust structures, a gas coma, or solar wind interactions was detected. MU69's origin appears consistent with pebble cloud collapse followed by a low-velocity merger of its two lobes.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
The Geology and Geophysics of Kuiper Belt Object (486958) ArrokothJR Spencer et al. Science. PMID 32054694.The Cold Classical Kuiper Belt, a class of small bodies in undisturbed orbits beyond Neptune, are primitive objects preserving information about Solar System formation. I …
The Solar Nebula Origin of (486958) Arrokoth, a Primordial Contact Binary in the Kuiper BeltWB McKinnon et al. Science. PMID 32054695.The New Horizons spacecraft's encounter with the cold classical Kuiper Belt object (486958) Arrokoth (provisional designation 2014 MU69) revealed a cont …
Color, Composition, and Thermal Environment of Kuiper Belt Object (486958) ArrokothWM Grundy et al. Science. PMID 32054693.The outer Solar System object (486958) Arrokoth (provisional designation 2014 MU69) has been largely undisturbed since its formation. We study its surface comp …
Physics and Chemistry of the Solar NebulaJI Lunine. Orig Life Evol Biosph 27 (1-3), 205-24. PMID 9150574. - ReviewThe solar system is thought to have begun in a flattened disk of gas and dust referred to traditionally as the solar nebula. Such a construct seems to be a natural produc …
Cometary DeuteriumR Meier et al. Space Sci Rev 1-2, 33-43. PMID 11543290. - ReviewDeuterium fractionations in cometary ices provide important clues to the origin and evolution of comets. Mass spectrometers aboard spaceprobe Giotto revealed the first ac …
Cited by 1 PubMed Central articles
News Feature: "Celestial Snowman" Starts to Reveal Its SecretsNT Redd. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 116 (38), 18749-18752. PMID 31530715.