NASA's faraway space snowman has flat, not round, behind

By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

On Tuesday, the first image of the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule taken by the New Horizons spacecraft revealed a bowling pin. On Wednesday, more distinct and color images revealed a snowman.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The faraway space snowman visited by NASA last month has a flat - not round - behind.

New photos from the New Horizons spacecraft offer a new perspective on the small cosmic body 4 billion miles (6.4 billion kilometers) away. Scientists say the two-lobed object, nicknamed Ultima Thule, is actually flatter on the backside than originally thought. Pictures released late last week - taken shortly after closest approach on New Year's Day - provide an outline of the side not illuminated by the sun.

When viewed from the front, Ultima Thule still resembles a two-ball snowman. But from the side , the snowman looks squashed, sort of like a lemon and pie stuck together, end to end.

Ultima Thule is the most distant world ever explored.

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