Martha Dan, Associated Press
Published Wednesday, January 2, 2019 3:01 PM EST
LAUREL, MD – NASA's space ship, which traveled 4 billion miles from Earth, sent back its first images of the nearest space object that had been explored, and looks like a reddish snowman.
Ultima Thule, as a small, icy object is called, is an elongated body about 20 miles long, made up of two united coupled spheres.
NASA's new horizons, the spacecraft that sent pictures from Pluto for 3 1/2 years, passed by the ancient, mysterious object early in the New Year. It's one billion miles past Pluto.
Pictures from Ultima Tule were discovered on Wednesday.
Scientists Geoff Moore says the two spheres are formed when small, icy pieces merge into space for billions of years. Then the spheres slowly descended closer to one another and stuck together.
Ultima Thule has a faded-looking color of light brick. Scientists say no impact craters can be seen on the latest photos.