The most distant object ever visited by a human probe has been officially named “Arrokoth,” meaning “sky” in the native powhatan language, NASA has announced.
In January, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft explored the asteroid, making the most distant encounter in human history. At the time, new horizons was only 3,500 kilometers away from the object. The image shows that it consists of two large and small elliptic spheres shaped like a gourd or a snowman.
The kuiper belt object is estimated to be about 45 kilometers in diameter and 6.4 billion kilometers from earth, with an orbital period of about 293 years.
Arrokoth is a “classical kuiper belt object” that orbits beyond Neptune and does not resonate with the planet. Such objects have not been disturbed much since the solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago.
New horizons, currently on the outer edge of the kuiper belt, will follow in the footsteps of voyager 1 and 2 across the solar system and into interstellar space.