NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, on the first day of 2019, successfully "phoned home" after a journey to the most distant world ever explored by humankind. The small, icy world, nicknamed Ultima Thule, lies at a distance of 6.5 billion km from earth. NASA's space probe managed to come within 3,540 km of Ultima Thule, a 32-km-long space rock in the Kuiper Belt - a ring of icy celestial bodies just outside Neptune's orbit.
About ten hours ago, NASA shared a picture of the snowman-shaped Ultima Thule on Twitter. The object, which looks like a snowman, has since then inspired a lot of jokes and memes on the micro blogging website.
After flying by the most distant object ever explored, @NASANewHorizons beamed back the 1st pictures & science data from #UltimaThule. This data is helping us understand how planets form — both those in our own solar system & those orbiting other stars: https://t.co/cp8lE03Cl5pic.twitter.com/CUaOK1LZBG— NASA (@NASA) January 2, 2019
Since being shared, the picture has collected over 5,000 'likes' and almost 2,000 'retweets', along with a ton of comments.
While some have compared Ultima Thule to a snowman, others to a peanut. Take a look at some of the best tweets it has inspired:
Can anyone else see Charlie Browns face in the top section? Looks like he's about to cry.— Peter Hall (@PeterHalleone) January 2, 2019
Among other things, Ultima Thule has been compared to a giant space turtle, a fat bowling pin and "Kenny from South Park".
It has also led to a lot of jokes
A LITTLE PRIVACY, PLEASE!? https://t.co/yxI5dw1kyh— root@eruditorum.œrg (@root2702) January 2, 2019
You know when you open a bag of frozen chicken nuggets and find one stuck to another? https://t.co/3xIEFYJ9qu— Spencer (@spencerpeegee) January 2, 2019
I just wanted to say that Ultima Thule sounds like an awesome band name, a last ditch protocol plan, and an epic summoning spell.— Insulinspike (@ArppegioG) January 3, 2019
Ultima Thule's odd shape indicates that it formed as two spherical rocks slowly fused together in the early days of the solar system. Scientists call it a "contact binary", and it lends support to a theory that suggests worlds are born from slow accumulation, rather than catastrophic collisions.
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