The New Horizons space probe of NASA reportedly recovered from its hibernation state lately after near about six months. For the past six months, the NASA space probe was only conserving its energy and moving nearer to its upcoming target, which is a small distant object called Ultima Thule. The New Horizons would be reportedly flying past the Ultima Thule next year on 1st January.
Alice Bowman, the operations manager of the mission of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory at Laurel in Maryland said in a statement that the New Horizons probe recovered from its hibernation state late on Monday night. However, as it is at a distance of near about 3.8 billion miles from the surface of the Earth, Bowman said, the radio signal produced by the spacecraft could not reach the flight controllers at the exact time. The signals reached at around 2:12 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.
Bowman said, “We were here in the mission operations center, and it was great.” She continued saying, “You know, you always plan for success, so when it goes smoothly that’s cause for celebration. It was very nice to have everything run so smoothly. We didn’t have to do any reboots, any reconfigurations of the ground systems or anything like that. It went very smooth, and we were very happy.”
Earlier the Ultima Thule was named as 2014 MU69. The new name “Ultima Thule,” which indicates that the 2014 MU69 is far from “the known world,” however, is also a nickname and is not permanent. It is situated at a distance of near about one billion miles from the orbit of Pluto. Though the researchers do not yet know much regarding the Ultima Thule at the present, they have claimed that the object involves two bodies rather than one.
Researchers expect that this flyby of the NEW Horizon past the Ultima Thule would provide them the first picture of the appearance of the object. Following that, the space agency NASA and the International Astronomical Union would work collaboratively to officially assign a name for the object.
The New Horizons probe was launched on 19th January 2006 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As part of one of its major tasks, it went on a marathon mission flying past the Pluto on 14th July 2015. The spacecraft sent back to Earth amazing pictures and essential information about Pluto and its moon Charon.