New pictures from NASA’s New Horizons show a pancaked peanut

The view of 2014 MU69 backlit by the sun as New Horizons speeds away.

At first glance, the mysterious space rock that NASA’s New Horizons zoomed by on New Year’s day looked like a lumpy snowman, or maybe a misshapen space peanut. Now, a new set of photos reveal that the space rock is flatter than initially thought — more pancake, really, than peanut.

The space rock, called 2014 MU69, is located 4.1 billion miles away from Earth in the Kuiper Belt, a massive stretch of frigid objects that orbit the Sun at the edges of the Solar System. During its flyby of the 21-mile-wide rock, New Horizons snapped photos with its two cameras and collected 50 gigabits of data with its onboard instruments.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/National Optical…

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