Originally, Ultima Thule was modeled into the shape of a snowman, two round bodies stuck to one another, with one smaller than the other. But after some new data came in from New Horizons, scientists are changing that illustration to a flatter pancake-like image.
"We had an impression of Ultima Thule based on the limited number of images returned in the days around the flyby, but seeing more data has significantly changed our view," the mission’s principal investigator, Alan Stern, said in a news release. "It would be closer to reality to say Ultima Thule’s shape is flatter, like a pancake. But more importantly, the new images are creating scientific puzzles about how such an object could even be formed. We’ve never seen something like this orbiting the Sun."
(Image credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI)