The geology and geophysics of Kuiper Belt object (486958) Arrokoth

J. R. Spencer, S. A. Stern, J. M. Moore, H. A. Weaver, K. N. Singer, C. B. Olkin, A. J. Verbiscer, W. B. McKinnon, J. Wm Parker, R. A. Beyer, J. T. Keane, T. R. Lauer, S. B. Porter, O. L. White, B. J. Buratti, M. R. El-Maarry, C. M. Lisse, A. H. Parker, H. B. Throop, S. J. RobbinsO. M. Umurhan, R. P. Binzel, D. T. Britt, M. W. Buie, A. F. Cheng, D. P. Cruikshank, H. A. Elliott, G. R. Gladstone, W. M. Grundy, M. E. Hill, M. Horanyi, D. E. Jennings, J. J. Kavelaars, I. R. Linscott, D. J. McComas, R. L. McNutt, S. Protopapa, D. C. Reuter, P. M. Schenk, M. R. Showalter, L. A. Young, A. M. Zangari, A. Y. Abedin, C. B. Beddingfield, S. D. Benecchi, E. Bernardoni, C. J. Bierson, D. Borncamp, V. J. Bray, A. L. Chaikin, R. D. Dhingra, C. Fuentes, T. Fuse, P. L. Gay, S. D.J. Gwyn, D. P. Hamilton, J. D. Hofgartner, M. J. Holman, A. D. Howard, C. J.A. Howett, H. Karoji, D. E. Kaufmann, M. Kinczyk, B. H. May, M. Mountain, M. Pätzold, J. M. Petit, M. R. Piquette, I. N. Reid, H. J. Reitsema, K. D. Runyon, S. S. Sheppard, J. A. Stansberry, T. Stryk, P. Tanga, D. J. Tholen, D. E. Trilling, L. H. Wasserman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Cold Classical Kuiper Belt, a class of small bodies in undisturbed orbits beyond Neptune, is composed of primitive objects preserving information about Solar System formation. In January 2019, the New Horizons spacecraft flew past one of these objects, the 36-kilometer-long contact binary (486958) Arrokoth (provisional designation 2014 MU69). Images from the flyby show that Arrokoth has no detectable rings, and no satellites (larger than 180 meters in diameter) within a radius of 8000 kilometers. Arrokoth has a lightly cratered, smooth surface with complex geological features, unlike those on previously visited Solar System bodies. The density of impact craters indicates the surface dates from the formation of the Solar System. The two lobes of the contact binary have closely aligned poles and equators, constraining their accretion mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaay3999
JournalScience
Volume367
Issue number6481
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 28 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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    Spencer, J. R., Stern, S. A., Moore, J. M., Weaver, H. A., Singer, K. N., Olkin, C. B., Verbiscer, A. J., McKinnon, W. B., Wm Parker, J., Beyer, R. A., Keane, J. T., Lauer, T. R., Porter, S. B., White, O. L., Buratti, B. J., El-Maarry, M. R., Lisse, C. M., Parker, A. H., Throop, H. B., ... Wasserman, L. H. (2020). The geology and geophysics of Kuiper Belt object (486958) Arrokoth. Science, 367(6481), [eaay3999]. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aay3999