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Lifeboat Foundation Celebrates Farthest Flyby Ever

Lifeboat Foundation congratulates our Alan Stern for his accomplishment of New Horizons traveling 4 billion miles from Earth in the farthest flyby ever.
Ultima Thule – January 1, 2019 – We would like to congratulate our Alan Stern for his accomplishment of New Horizons traveling 4 billion miles from Earth in the farthest flyby ever. Alan is Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons probe which rang in the new year by swinging by Ultima Thule — “beyond the known world” — an object in the Kuiper asteroid belt.
The spacecraft passed within 2,200 miles of the large asteroid at 12:33 a.m. EST Tuesday, not long after the ball dropped in New York Times Square. The close encounter marks the farthest spacecraft flyby in history.
“We set a record! Never before has a spacecraft explored something so far away,” Alan said. “I mean, think of it. We’re a billion miles further than Pluto, and now we’re going to keep going into the Kuiper Belt.”
“We have a healthy spacecraft,” announced the mission’s operations manager, Alice Bowman, as signals from the probe reached earth hours later. Stored on board are close-up pictures of the planet that’s less than 20 miles wide, and four billion miles from the sun. The first images, just a few pixels across, arrived Tuesday morning and revealed a planet shaped like dog-bone, a peanut or a bowling pin, depending on your interpretation.
“Even though it’s a pixelated blob still, it’s a better pixelated blob,” said project scientist Hal Weaver at a press conference. Sending photos from the edges of the solar system requires patience; while the first high-resolution photographs will be revealed later this week, the highest-resolution images won’t be available until February. It will take nearly two years for all of the scientific data gathered by the probe to reach researchers back on earth.
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About Lifeboat Foundation
The Lifeboat Foundation is a nonprofit nongovernmental organization dedicated to encouraging scientific advancements while helping humanity survive existential risks and possible misuse of increasingly powerful technologies, including genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and robotics/AI, as we move towards a technological singularity.
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