On January 1, 2019, the spacecraft New Horizons, four billion miles away from the earth, passed within 2,200 miles of a 21 mile long “contact binary,” nicknamed Ultima Thule,1 which is neither an asteroid nor a comet. It looks like a giant snowman about the size of the District of Columbia and shows just how dust, gas and ice aggregate together to form planets.2
This successful mission required all of the knowledge, engineering and technology on earth and in space to find this object, to learn its orbit and position, to judge its speed and direction, and to have the spacecraft rendezvous with it by adjusting the spaceprobe’s own orbit, all the while using its very limited fuel supply. Then, the spacecraft needed to fly by it with all instruments on full speed while the craft passed by the contact binary at over 32,000 miles per hour.3
Indeed, the discovery of Ultima Thule invites us to recall the scriptures declaring: ”Any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.” (D&C 88:47)
Historic Achievement in State-of-the-art Spacecraft Navigation
“This flyby is a historic achievement,’ said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. ‘Never before has any spacecraft team tracked down such a small body at such high speed so far away in the abyss of space. New Horizons has set a new bar for state-of-the-art spacecraft navigation.’”4
This mission demonstrates the dramatic coordinated use of inventions, space and earth based telescopes and other instruments, to say nothing of programming, networks, communications, data analysis, scientific theories and engineering applications across vast areas of space. All these things together in this example show the intelligence and power that mere humans can now use. We well should ask: “If our coordinated intelligent efforts can do so much, what then is God able to do?” 5 6
“All Things were Made by Him”
The Lord tells us that He is “the Light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men. The worlds were made by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him.”
King Benjamin’s inspired words expand on this thought, especially asserting that the Lord comprehends infinitely so much more than humans can comprehend. We certainly ought to be humble in this regard and not arrogant:
“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.” (Mosiah 4:9)
“All things!” That is a very large mathematical set!7
Away from the Ecliptic: To Pluto!
New Horizons was launched on January 19, 2006 on an Atlas V rocket and immediately preceded into a high speed orbit that would eventually enable it to get to Pluto, moving far above the ecliptic plane where the Sun and the eight planets move in nearly circular orbits. After passing over one million miles above Jupiter, the spacecraft received a gravity assist that increased its speed further. While
passing by Jupiter, the spacecraft’s scientific capabilities were tested so it would be fully prepared to go to Pluto. 8
The gravity assist from Jupiter acted as a slingshot to put the probe into the right orbit to reach Pluto. The spacecraft was kept mostly in hibernation mode during part of 2007 and up until the final approach to Pluto in January 2015.
Here is a picture of Pluto and its large moon Charon from the Hubble Space Telescope using its “Faint Object Camera.”
Next is a picture from an actual visit to Pluto by New Horizons as it approached the dwarf planet.
Even with its great capabilities, the HST struggled to get enough photons of light to make a good picture of the very far away Pluto. As summarized by the narrator in the Nova documentary: “Our best images, little more than a blur.” [7:02 minutes into documentary] 9
New Horizons Computer Malfunction Just Ten Days before Pluto Flyby
On July 4, 2015 [7:25 minutes into Nova documentary], just ten days before the Pluto flyby, the spacecraft became unresponsive and the engineers lost contact with New Horizons. It was discovered that the spacecraft computer was being overloaded and significant software changes were required. These changes had to be made using a four billion mile, five hour transmission time data link @ 2,000 bits per second.
This is a spacecraft in the deep-freeze of space. Fortunately, marshaling extraordinary effort from the development team, and without any more major “Murphy’s law” instances, the computer problem was fixed just six hours before the flyby was due to start. [9:53 minutes into documentary, July 14, 2018]10
Even with all of the expertise and knowledge of the New Horizons team, this is an example of what I would consider as a “light speed” “just in time” debugging of complicated software and hardware. It would have to be categorized as a miracle.
If it could not perform the flyby photography of the Pluto system, the New Horizons mission would have been a dismal failure and this would be a huge disincentive to funding any future missions of cutting edge exploration.
I am sure that there were many prayers of gratitude to God from some team members for His goodness and mercy and blessing of the team’s efforts and the functioning of the spacecraft so that humanity could experience and appreciate His great creations in our solar system and universe.
This computer malfunction certainly would also be an example of “opposition in all things.” (2 Nephi 2:11)
The Magnificence of the Pluto System
Once the data from the instruments aimed at Pluto started to come back to Earth, it was a breathtaking experience, especially for so many who had given years of their lives to this project of space exploration.
“Oh what a difference!” an onsite spacecraft makes. New Horizons studied Pluto and its five moons during the summer of 2015 with its closest approach of 7,800 miles above Pluto.11
“First-time close-up photos of that incredible dwarf planet revealed wonders such as nitrogen [and methane] glaciers flowing across the surface, mountain ranges rivaling the Rockies, possible ice volcanoes, and areas that are geologically active.”
“Images recently analyzed from New Horizons’ cameras revealed what appear to be small, low-lying isolated clouds – the first to be seen on the dwarf planet.”12
Please look at the Nova documentary on “Pluto and Beyond” [note: allow a click to the documentary url from the “Pluto and Beyond” phrase above] that aired on January 2, 2019 just after the successful flyby of Ultima Thule on January 1, 2019. [https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/pluto-and-beyond/ address to click on]
Twelve minutes into the Nova Documentary is a simulated flyover of Pluto using the pictures and data collected during the flyby. Compare that with the dismal focus possible from the mighty HST on Pluto. What a miracle it is to view these pictures and see the results of the analysis of the collected data.
Apollo 8 Astronauts’ Christmas Eve Broadcast
The amazing New Horizons success story, in spite of severe obstacles and opposition, reminds me of the Apollo 8 mission that was the first time ever for man to leave the Earth and orbit another heavenly body. It was an ambitious mission that just the year before had been expanded to orbit the moon rather than just test the rocket and command module orbiting around the earth. Many crucial systems had not yet been tested. “According to NASA, the men’s chances of making it back to Earth alive were about 50/50.”13
The astronauts, Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman, were orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve in 1968 and read what they considered the most appropriate text to recite to the world. This broadcast to the world was the most viewed program in the history of broadcasting up to that date.
They started reading: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth,” taking their selection from Genesis and proceeded to read the first ten verses from the Holy Bible ending with the Divine pronouncement: “and God saw that it was good.”
Frank Borman ended the broadcast with these words:
“And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”14
A great PBS Nova documentary on Apollo 8 (December 28, 2018) was broadcast the week before the “Pluto and Beyond” Nova documentary of the New Horizons mission. Look 44 minutes into the documentary to see the story of the astronauts reading Genesis while orbiting the Moon.15
Finding and Rendezvousing with a Small Kuiper Belt Object
After exploring Pluto, the New Horizons mission included a study of one or more Kuiper belt objects beyond Pluto. Unlike any previous mission, the object had not been selected in advance.
Pluto is huge compared with the many, many small objects in the cloud of debris beyond Pluto. The Hubble Space Telescope had a hard enough time focusing in on Pluto. Small objects a few miles in diameter are almost impossible to get any reflected sunlight back to earth telescopes because the objects are four billion miles away.
In 2011 as the spacecraft traveled to Pluto, more and more work was done to find a suitable object to rendezvous with, but none were found. The spacecraft could adjust its path some by using its thrusters and the small amount of fuel still left. But, it could not make any radical changes to its path out of the solar system. Also, many objects would have to be filtered out of a star field with millions of stars from the Milky Way Galaxy also in the picture.
The Hubble Space Telescope was used in conjunction with the Gaia spacecraft to find and track the dim reflection of possible small objects beyond Pluto that were within range of where New Horizons could visit. The Gaia spacecraft was designed to measure the “positions, distances and motions of stars with unprecedented precision. The mission aims to construct by far the largest and most precise 3D space catalog ever made.” These stars can then be eliminated from the star field to focus on the dim light of possible target objects.16
Witnessing a Star Occultation of the Possible Target Object
By 2014, the HST finally did find a possible object, named 2014-MU69, that would become known as Ultima Thule. But, a very precise formula for its orbit had to be derived from multiple points on its orbital path. Otherwise, New Horizons could not successfully even attempt to visit it close enough for a flyby.
The next step was to verify the target object’s orbit by seeing 2014-MU69 pass in front of a known star, causing it to blink for a second or so. This is called an occultation.
The first opportunity to check for a star occultation was in the mountains of Argentina and the countryside of South Africa on June 3, 2017 [Nova documentary offset 33:27 minutes]. All that effort for a one second blink four billion miles away. And, nothing. The orbit was not yet precise enough to allow the New Horizon spacecraft to visit the right coordinates in space where MU-69 would be located as the two objects, the spacecraft and MU-69, whizzed by each other while the spacecraft took detailed pictures.
The next one-second event was thirty-seven days later, on July 10, 2017, and occurred over the Pacific Ocean. To measure the occultation required using the specialized NASA Sofia 747 with a large telescope on one side. One more try and once again, no occultation. The scientists needed to validate the precise orbit soon or there would be no time to adjust the spacecraft’s orbit to intercept the object. Otherwise, the spacecraft would arrive at the coordinates only to find nothing, no object, no MU-69.
Finally, with little time to spare, in Patagonia in South America on July 17, 2017, in spite of strong winds that threatened to cancel the measurement attempt, five
separate portable computerized telescopes were able to aim successfully at the right star field and the right star at the precise time, and then to see the one second blink as MU-69 passed in front of the distant star.
At last, the final adjustments could be made to the spacecraft’s orbital equations so as to intercept the target object. The orbital formulas started by the HST were now validated as correct.
Final Approach to Flyby of Ultima Thule (2014-MU-69)– Very Reluctantly Giving Up Its Secrets
On December 29, 2018, with everything proceeding toward the intercept three days later, the New Horizons team fully expected that initial pictures would begin to tell us about the object. But, it was giving up its secrets very reluctantly. [Nova Documentary offset 46:20 minutes]
There were clues from the location of the different telescopes during the successful occultation of the distant star that Ultima Thule was not a 20 mile diameter sphere, but there was not anything for certain. January 1, 2019 at 12:33 a.m. That was the time the flyby was beginning.
The best picture they had was from the prior day, December 31, 2018:
And, then the flyby occurred one day later, on January 1, 2019 and after waiting the six hours for the signal to go from the spacecraft to earth: Yes! It is a contact binary! It never has been seen before, and did not exist except in theory. It is neither an asteroid nor a comet.
This amazing object dating from the beginnings of our solar system really does look a lot like a 21 mile tall, two-snowball architecture snowman!
Here is an animated GIF model of the exploration route of the New Horizons spacecraft. Notice how Jupiter, the target of earlier exploration missions such as the spacecraft Juno is left far behind by the craft that is tasked with the exploration of “Pluto and beyond.”
A Time Machine Back to the Very Beginning of the Solar System
NASA’s Jeff Moore: “Think of New Horizons as a time machine that has brought us back to the very beginning of the solar system, to a place where we can observe the most primordial building blocks of the planets.”17
As we study the amazing voyage of discovery and exploration that has resulted from the New Horizons mission, discerning inspiration is an easy and tantalizing step when we see how this team overcame many potentially fatal obstacles to the mission’s success.
Inspiration and revelation are also evident in the Restoration of all things in the last days, including the many visions of the prophet Moses.
“And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered.” (Moses 1:8)
LDS Chemist Henry Eyring:
“There are some people who throw away the scriptures and restrict themselves to science and related fields. Others use the scriptures to the exclusion of other truth. Both are wrong. Latter- day Saints should seek after truth by all avenues with earnest humility. There is, of course, no conflict in the gospel since it embraces all truth. Undoubtedly, however, science is continually challenging us to think through again our conceptions of the gospel. This should work both ways, of course.”18
Caption: “Henry Eyring (1901–1981) is undoubtedly the most celebrated scientist to rise within the Mormon faith to date. He published over six hundred scientific papers and about a dozen books, and he received almost every prize science has to offer. His theories form the core of modern chemistry.”
President Ezra Taft Benson declared his view with confidence that “Religion and science have sometimes appeared in conflict. Yet, the conflict can only be apparent, not real, for science seeks truth, and true religion is truth.”
Caption: Ezra Taft Benson, Apostle, Prophet, Secretary of Agriculture, Master’s Degree in Agriculture plus additional post graduate level studies—surely a man for all seasons with credibility in both religion and science. Picture comes from his service as Secretary of Agriculture for President Dwight D. Eisenhower for eight years.
Therefore, let us diligently continue to “seek after truth by all avenues with earnest humility” leading to a wonderful future of exaltation and eternal life.
1 “NASA takes the first image of Ultima Thule, the last frontier,” archynety.com, retrieved 1/12, 2019. [https://www.archynety.com/tech/nasa-takes-the-first-image-of-ultima-thule-the-last-frontier/]
“Since 2015, the “New Horizons” has penetrated into the depth of space, on its way to 2014 MU 69, a small frozen object of the Kuiper belt that was named Ultima Thule. Recently, the probe has succeeded in photographing this small object for the first time, so it has changed the furthest planetary body ever explored by man, “Up close”. Moreover, the snapshot is the longest in history and exceeds the photo of the “light blue dot” that Voyager 1 recorded in 1990.
“It can really be said that Ultima Thule is the last limit. “Thule” is in fact a term that occurs in classical sources to refer normally to an island a far and unreachable north. In Greek mythology Thule was the capital of Hyperborea, the kingdom of the gods. And in medieval and Latin sources Ultima Thule is a place outside the boundaries of the known world.”
“The image was made by the LORRI instrument (from “Long Range Reconnaissance Imager”, at a distance of more than 172 million kilometers.) To the astonishment of the scientists of the mission, despite the distance and the low brightness of the object, LORRI He was able to capture a small amount of light from Ultima Thule against a background full of bright stars, in a series of 48 photographs.”
“Alan Stern, the principal investigator of “New Horizons” and scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, said: “Now we have looked at Ultima remotely, much further from what we thought was possible. We are at the door and an incredible exploration awaits us!“.
2 “Pluto and Beyond,” PBS Nova Documentary, January 2, 2019, Full Transcript included. [https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/pluto-and-beyond/]
“The New Horizons spacecraft zooms toward an object 4 billion miles from Earth.”
“The New Horizons spacecraft attempts to fly by a mysterious object known as Ultima Thule, believed to be a primordial building block of the solar system. Three years after taking the first spectacular photos of Pluto, New Horizons is four billion miles from Earth, trying to achieve the most distant flyby in NASA’s history. If successful, it will shed light on one of the least understood regions of our solar system: the Kuiper Belt. NOVA is embedded with the New Horizons mission team, following the action in real time as they uncover the secrets of what lies beyond Pluto. (Premiered January 2, 2019 at 9 pm)”
Sample of transcript included with documentary at that address:
“PBS Airdate: January 2, 2019
NARRATOR: Four-billion miles from Earth, a spacecraft closes in on its target, a mysterious object, far beyond all the known planets, that could reveal new secrets about the birth of the solar system. But the mission is risky.
ALAN STERN (Principal Investigator, New Horizons): Even being hit by something smaller than a single pellet of rice, at 32,000 miles an hour, would be catastrophic, and we would lose the mission.
NARRATOR: The spacecraft that brought us to Pluto is now attempting an even more challenging final quest. Can it succeed?
FRED PELLETIER (Navigation Team Chief, New Horizons Mission): There’s only one shot, and if you make a mistake, that, that could be it.”
Youtube version: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmNzj3Bro_Y]
3 “Design and Construction of New Horizons Spacecraft,” Wikipedia.org, retrieved 1/15/2019. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Horizons#Design_and_construction]
“Encounter with 2014-MU69,” Wikipedia.org, retrieved `1/15/2019. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Horizons#Encounter_with_(486958)_2014_MU69]
“After the flyby, the spacecraft was left with 11 kg (24 lb) of fuel.” That might be enough to target another object.
4 Alan Stern, “NASA’s New Horizons Mission Reveals Entirely New Kind of World,” January 2, 2019. [https://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20190102]
“Images of the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule unveil the very first stages of solar system’s history”
“This image taken by the Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) is the most detailed of Ultima Thule returned so far by the New Horizons spacecraft. It was taken at 5:01 Universal Time on January 1, 2019, just 30 minutes before closest approach from a range of 18,000 miles (28,000 kilometers), with an original scale of 459 feet (140 meters) per pixel. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute”
5 Richard Rupe, “God’s Plan of Salvation,” Chapter 12: “The Book,” [https://www.zionsoutpost.org/Documents/God%E2%80%99sPlanOfSalvation-Chapter12.pdf]
Ezra Taft Benson:
“My beloved brethren and sisters, today I would like to speak about one of the most significant gifts given to the world in modern times. The gift I am thinking of is more important than any of the inventions that have come out of the industrial and technological revolutions. This is a gift of greater value to mankind than even the many wonderful advances we have seen in modern medicine. It is of greater worth to mankind than the development of flight or space travel. I speak of the gift of the Book of Mormon, given to mankind 156 years ago.” [emphasis added]
6 “Teachings Regarding the Electronic Age We Live In,” byu.edu,satterfieldb, Rtrieved 1/12/2019. [https://emp.byui.edu/SATTERFIELDB/Quotes/Electronic%20Age.htm]
“This is the world of the future, with inventions undreamed of that will come in your lifetime as they have in mine. How will you use these marvelous inventions? More to the point, how will you use them to further the work of the Lord?” – M. Russell Ballard, 2007.
7 RPM: I wonder if the Lord’s lowest level base class, the one that all “things” inherit from, is named “All Things?”
“All things denote that there is a God.” (Alma 30:44)
Denote: stand as a name or symbol for; be a sign of, indicate.
23 Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth;
24 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;
25 And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.
26 The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth; 27 And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments. 28 He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.
29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. (D&C 93:23-30)
Great talk by Elder Robert D Hales about the Holy Ghost by which we can know the “truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:5)
Robert B. Hales, “The Holy Ghost,” General Conference April 2016. [https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/04/the-holy-ghost?lang=eng]
“Personal revelation is essential, but it is only one part of the work of the Holy Ghost. As the scriptures attest, the Holy Ghost also testifies of the Savior and God the Father. He teaches us “the peaceable things of the kingdom” and causes us to ‘abound in hope.’ He ‘leadeth [us] to do good … [and] to judge righteously.’ He gives ‘to every man [and woman] … a [spiritual] gift … that all may be profited thereby.’ He ‘giveth [us] knowledge’ and ‘bring[s] all things to [our] remembrance.’ Through the Holy Ghost, we ‘may be sanctified’ and receive ‘a remission of [our] sins.’ He is the ‘Comforter,’ the same who was ‘promised unto [the Savior’s] disciples.’” [emphasis added]
RPM: That “all things” very large set again: And, hopefully we can avoid this path with Jacob’s strong warnings: “O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God. But wo unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their god. And behold, their treasure shall perish with them also.” (2 Nephi 9:28-30)
8 Ray Jayawardhana, “Give It Up for Pluto,” New York Times, December 11, 2015. [https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/opinion/give-it-up-for-pluto.html]
“In July, after a nine-year, three-billion-mile journey, New Horizons flew by Pluto at more than 30,000 miles per hour, transmitting back to Earth a treasure trove of stunning images and fascinating data, which continue to arrive. In fact, the sharpest views of Pluto are reaching us only now, five months after the all-too-brief close encounter.”
“New Horizons Flyover of Pluto,” NASA.gov, on youtube.com. July 14, 2017. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1fPhhTT2Oo]
“Using actual New Horizons data and digital elevation models of Pluto and its largest moon Charon, mission scientists have created flyover movies that offer spectacular new perspectives of the many unusual features that were discovered and which have reshaped our views of the Pluto system – from a vantage point even closer than the spacecraft itself.”
9 “High Resolution HST Images of Pluto and Charon,” ESO.org, 18 May 1994. [https://www.eso.org/~ohainaut/nice/pluto.html]
“Pluto from the New Horizons Probe,” scienceabc.com, retrieved 1/15/2019. [https://www.scienceabc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Pluto.jpg]
10 “New Horizons Data Collection,” jhuapl.edu, retrieved 1/15/2019. [https://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Mission/Spacecraft/Data-Collection.php]
“New Horizons is on a one-way journey to the Kuiper Belt and beyond. Unlike missions that return to Earth, New Horizons sends back all of its data using a radio transmitter and its 83-inch (2.1-meter) diameter radio antenna. It receives commands over this link, and returns both science data and information on the spacecraft’s temperature and power.”
11 “New Horizons current position,” jhuapl.edu, retrieved 1/15/2019. [https://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Mission/Where-is-New-Horizons.php]
12 “New Horizons discoveries keep coming,” NASA Science, 2015. [https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/news-articles/new-horizons-discoveries-keep-coming-news]
13 “The Apollo 8 Christmas Eve Broadcast,” Homeschool Library of Links, December 24, 2012. [https://www.homeschoollibrary.info/2012/12/24/the-apollo-8-christmas-eve-broadcast/]
““We are now approaching lunar sunrise and, for all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light…’”
“Apollo 8 Genesis reading,” Wikipedia.org, Retrieved 1/15/2019. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_8_Genesis_reading]
14 “Apollo Astronaut Shares Story of NASA’s Earthrise Photo,” Spaceflight Insider, September 9, 2015. [https://www.spaceflightinsider.com/space-flight-history/apollo-astronaut-shares-story-nasas-earthrise-photo/]
15 “Apollo’s Daring Mission,” NOVA PBS, December 28, 2018. [https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/apollos-daring-mission/] [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxLiiFFSboQ]
16 “Gaia spacecraft,” Wikipedia.org, Retrieved 1/15/2019. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_(spacecraft)]
17 “First Results News Conference,” NASA New Horizons, January 2, 2019. [https://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/Press-Conferences/2019-01-02/Jan2_Presser-MASTR_V2.1.pdf]
Jeff Moore, New Horizons Geology and Geophysics Team Lead, NASA Ames Research Center. [https://www.nasa.gov/feature/ames/jeffrey-m-moore-new-horizons-co-investigator]
Look through the Occultation profile slides in the pdf file and see how the different telescope sites were giving an indication that MU69 was not a spherical object. This report goes into great depth on the details seen of the MU69, the smaller upper sphere, the large lower sphere and the connecting “glue” keeping them now together. Also, the formation process believed to be followed in the coalescing of the object, that is believed to have been formed four and a half billion years ago.
18 Ronald P. Millett, “Clues about how the Lord accomplished the creation of the world,” Meridian Magazeine, May 15, 2018. [https://meridianmag.wpengine.com/scientific-clues-about-how-the-lord-accomplished-the-creation-of-the-world/]
“One of the most positive fruits of the great latter-day restoration is the ongoing reconciliation of the so-called conflict between science and religion. “Truth is truth,” declared President Ezra Taft Benson, “whether labeled ‘science’ or ‘religion.’” As a powerful example of that reconciliation, recent discoveries in astronomy are resulting in revolutionary new theories of how habitable worlds and their solar systems are created.”