Based on these two factors, this object could be a pristine piece of the early solar system, which formed at its current location, and thus was not tossed around by the gravity of the other planets (looking at YOU, Neptune), and has possibly gone completely (or almost completely) untouched for over 4.5 billion years.
The spacecraft is scheduled to pass within 2,200 miles of the large asteroid at 12:33 a.m. EST Tuesday, not long after the ball drops in Time Squares.
On Monday, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory repeatedly underscored how little anyone still knows about Ultima Thule.
What will it look like?: According to The Verge, New Horizons "will be as far away from the object as NY is from Los Angeles".
Project scientist Hal Weaver of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory said humans didn´t even know the Kuiper Belt - a vast ring of relics from the formation days of the solar system - existed until the 1990s. "The spacecraft NASA is approaching the farthest object ever studied a spaceship 4 billion miles from the Sun and about 1 billion miles from Pluto", - stated in the message. "Anything's possible out there in this very unknown region", said John Spencer, a deputy project scientist from Southwest Research Institute. Ultima Thule essentially means "beyond Thule", which suggests something that lies beyond what is known.
Here’s what CenturyLink said overnight about the outage
At North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, Colorado , doctors and nurses for a time had difficulty accessing patient records. So far, Missouri, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado , New Mexico , parts of Montana, and MA have seen some sort of impact.
New Horizons will fly three times closer to Ultima than it did by Pluto, coming within 2,200 miles of it and providing a better look at the surface.
From that distance, Ultima Thule will appear as big as the full moon does in the sky here on Earth. The flyby Ultima Thule can be watched on NASA TV YouTube channel, where there'll be a discussion about the flyby and the live stream of the signal captured by NASA.
Scientists made a decision to study it with New Horizons after the spaceship, which launched in 2006, completed its main mission of flying by Pluto in 2015, returning the most detailed images ever taken of the dwarf planet.
"We're excited to explore a kind of object that has never been seen before", Alan Stern, principal investigator for the New Horizons mission, told NBC News. Images of the object taken just before the encounter will grow to a few more pixels, transmitted back to Earth at the speed of light in about six hours.
When NASA's New Horizons probe launched in January 2006, it was hard to believe it would ever reach the dwarf planet Pluto. This time, however, the spacecraft will fly three times closer to the target than it did to Pluto. As New Horizons speeds through space at 9 miles per second, it will take less than a day to turn Ultima Thule back into a speck in the rear view mirror.
A version of the image with superimposed lines shows where stars blinked out as they passed behind Ultima Thule, and two red circles indicate how Ultima Thule would be oriented if it is really a pair of objects. NASA says Ultima Thule is likely the most primitive planetary object ever explored.