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New Horizons Reaches “Ultima Thule”

It is with great pride that we join in congratulating our distinguished colleague and Lowell Thomas Award Winner Dr. Alan Stern FN’17, on leading the NASA New Horizons team that directed the spacecraft first to Pluto in 2015, and then on a historic 30,000 miles-an-hour flyby of the tiny world Ultima Thule (lit. “beyond the known world”) on 1 Jan 2019.

This Kuiper Belt object is 4 billion miles beyond the Sun—the farthest flyby exploration of a planetary body in the history of space exploration. Photographs and scientific data are still coming back to Earth, unveiling the mysteries of the ancient planetesimal Ultima Thule for some 20 more months.

While in Boston for the Lowell Thomas weekend in November, Dr. Stern gave TEC guests a full briefing on the New Horizons Mission, predicting the successful Ultima Thule flyby that took place in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, and he reflected on his involvement in space involvement:

“I was inspired, as so many of my generation were, by the earliest space pioneers, astronauts, engineers, and scientists—men and women who blazed the trail of exploration to the closest planets and the Moon. It’s my hope that we in our generation generally, and we on New Horizons in particular, provide an inspiration to children today, exciting them about science and engineering careers, and the sheer audacity of exploration of all kinds.”

We salute Dr. Alan Stern and his team of scientists and engineers on this extraordinary achievement.

With kind regards,

Richard Wiese
The Explorers Club

Published by : Explorers Club Staff

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