Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has confirmed a spacecraft it built for NASA has reached its target object in the Kuiper Belt, performing the farthest space exploration in history.
The New HorizonsÂ probe encounteredÂ Ultima ThuleÂ before New Year and already sent flyby data to an operations center on Earth,Â APLÂ said Tuesday.
APL received the images 10 hours after the vehicle’s closest approach to the trans-Neptunian object.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine saidÂ the spacecraft “flew by the most distant object ever visited by a spacecraft and became the first to directly explore an object that holds remnants from the birth of our solar system.”
Initial images reveal information about the shape and dimensions ofÂ Ultima Thule.
The lab operates New Horizons for NASA’sÂ Science Mission Directorate and expects the space probe to continue delivering data over the next 20 months.