Scientists have provided the latest imagery from the New Horizons spacecraft. It’s a stereo anaglyph: a simulated 3D image. It helps understand the topographic and geological features of the Kuiper Belt object, Ultima Thule.
Astrophysicist Brian May produced the stereo images animated above. (May is better known as the lead guitarist from the band Queen.) The two images were taken 30 minutes apart. It will be available on his website in the next few days according to Paul Schenk, the co-investigator at New Horizons.
The imagery reveals just how narrow the neck of the object is. The mottled appearance of the city-sized comet itself might mean that there are indeed impact craters its surface. Or it could be something else. “We do need to be careful interpreting images like this,” Schenk cautions. The imagery’s low resolution can’t reveal any geological insights definitively.
“We’re expecting much better stereo images as the data are downlinked and returned to Earth,” said Schenk. More information will be published as it arrives.