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

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American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

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      Abstract

      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 MU 69, 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. MU 69 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. MU 69’s origin appears consistent with pebble cloud collapse followed by a low-velocity merger of its two lobes.

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        Radiative Spin-up and Spin-down of Small Asteroids

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          Solar System Dynamics

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Science
            Science
            American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
            0036-8075
            1095-9203
            May 16 2019
            May 17 2019
            May 16 2019
            May 17 2019
            : 364
            : 6441
            : eaaw9771
            10.1126/science.aaw9771
            © 2019

            http://www.sciencemag.org/about/science-licenses-journal-article-reuse

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