space

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft beamed back the first close-up image of its target, Ultima Thule, revealing it’s a “contact binary”—two space rocks stuck together. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

This is the most primitive contact binary ever explored by a spacecraft. It likely formed four and a half billion years ago by a process called “accretion.” Particles of rock and rubble melded into two round objects, which then slowly spiraled together until they stuck.  

NASA

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which visited Pluto three years ago, flew by another frozen world in the outer regions of the solar system last night. Ultima Thule is now the most distant object ever visited by a spacecraft. Will Grundy of Flagstaff’s Lowell Observatory is one of the scientists involved. He spoke with KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny from mission control in Maryland.

NASA

Late last night, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by a small icy object at the edge of the solar system. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, it’s now the most distant object ever visited by a spacecraft.


NASA

Fifty years ago today, astronauts orbiting the Moon captured a photograph that some people say changed the world. It was the first color photograph of Earth from space. Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman took the unplanned picture from Apollo 8 just as the blue Earth began to rise over the pale lunar surface. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with local space historian Bill Sheehan about why the “Earthrise” photo mattered in 1968, and still matters today.   

NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

A NASA spacecraft operated by the University of Arizona has discovered water locked up in clay minerals on an asteroid. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, some scientists believe asteroids may have delivered water and organic molecules to Earth in its early history, sparking the origin of life.


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