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Initial results from the New Horizons exploration of 2014 MU69, a small Kuiper Belt Object

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Monday, April 6, 2020

S. A. Stern, H. A. Weaver, J. R. Spencer, C. B. Olkin, G. R. Gladstone, W. M. Grundy, J. M. Moore, D. P. Cruikshank, H. A. Elliott, W. B. McKinnon, J. Wm. Parker, A. J. Verbiscer, L. A. Young, D. A. Aguilar, J. M. Albers, T. Andert, J. P. Andrews, F. Bagenal, M. E. Banks, B. A. Bauer, J. A. Bauman, K. E. Bechtold, C. B. Beddingfield, N. Behrooz, K. B. Beisser, S. D. Benecchi, E. Bernardoni, R. A. Beyer, S. Bhaskaran, C. J. Bierson, R. P. Binzel, E. M. Birath, M. K. Bird, D. R. Boone, A. F. Bowman, V. J. Bray, D. T. Britt, L. E. Brown, M. R. Buckley, M. W. Buie, B. J. Buratti, L. M. Burke, S. S. Bushman, B. Carcich, A. L. Chaikin, C. L. Chavez, A. F. Cheng, E. J. Colwell, S. J. Conard, M. P. Conner, C. A. Conrad, J. C. Cook, S. B. Cooper, O. S. Custodio, C. M. Dalle Ore, C. C. Deboy, P. Dharmavaram, R. D. Dhingra, G. F. Dunn, A. M. Earle, A. F. Egan, J. Eisig, M. R. El-Maarry, C. Engelbrecht, B. L. Enke, C. J. Ercol, E. D. Fattig, C. L. Ferrell, T. J. Finley, J. Firer, J. Fischetti, W. M. Folkner, M. N. Fosbury, G. H. Fountain, J. M. Freeze, L. Gabasova, L. S. Glaze, J. L. Green, G. A. Griffith, Y. Guo, M. Hahn, D. W. Hals, D. P. Hamilton, S. A. Hamilton, J. J. Hanley, A. Harch, K. A. Harmon, H. M. Hart, J. Hayes, C. B. Hersman, M. E. Hill, T. A. Hill, J. D. Hofgartner, M. E. Holdridge, M. Horányi, A. Hosadurga, A. D. Howard, C. J. A. Howett, S. E. Jaskulek, D. E. Jennings et al. (105 additional authors not shown)

(Submitted on 2 Apr 2020)

The Kuiper Belt is a distant region of the Solar System. On 1 January 2019, the New Horizons spacecraft flew close to (486958) 2014 MU69, a Cold Classical Kuiper Belt Object, a class of objects that have never been heated by the Sun and are therefore well preserved since their formation. Here we describe initial results from these encounter observations. MU69 is a bi-lobed contact binary with a flattened shape, discrete geological units, and noticeable albedo heterogeneity. However, there is little surface color and compositional heterogeneity. No evidence for satellites, ring or dust structures, gas coma, or solar wind interactions was detected. By origin MU69 appears consistent with pebble cloud collapse followed by a low velocity merger of its two lobes.

Comments: 43 pages, 8 figure

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Journal reference: Science 364, eaaw9771 (2019)

DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw9771

Cite as: arXiv:2004.01017 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2004.01017v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: S. Alan Stern

[v1] Thu, 2 Apr 2020 14:11:09 UTC (6,960 KB)\

https://arxiv.org/abs/2004.01017

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