The probe's target was the oblong space rock known as Ultima Thule, and even though the spacecraft passed the massive rock at around midnight EST, NASA had to wait another ten hours before they even knew if the probe performed as planned.
For quite some time, this model has relied heavily on the theory that small pieces of dust in the protoplanetary nebula surrounding the Sun after its birth collided with each other and stuck together to form larger specs of dust.
Carly Howett, another researcher of the mission, noted that "we can definitely say that Ultima Thule is red", perhaps due to irradiation of ice. "New Horizons has set a new bar for state-of-the-art spacecraft navigation", said Stern.
Data from the New Horizons flyby of Ultima Thule will be coming in for about two years.
This three-panel drawing depicts the likely scenario for how 2014 MU69 formed, as two different, gravitationally-bound objects formed from solar system debris, and then slowly spiraled in to eventually touch. He and his colleagues plan to apply for NASA approval to extend their mission, either to conduct another Kuiper belt object flyby or explore other aspects of the outer solar system.
New Horizons was launched in 2006 on a mission to fly by Pluto.
Though most people haven't heard of the term's unsavoury use by the Nazis, the New Horizons team was aware of it and went with the name anyway, science reporter Meghan Bartels reported for Newsweek in March 2018.
The team unveiled new images received late in the day yesterday, and it's now clear that Ultima Thule, a distant, icy Kuiper Belt Object lying 4 billion miles away, is a contact binary. Is it two icy objects orbiting each other, or a single "peanut"?
Stranger Things season 3 date announced, teaser unveiled
In a new teaser, the streaming network revealed that the 1980s-set series will officially return on July 4, 2019. Levy also said, "We're not going to put Will through hell for a third season in a row".
"We could not be happier", New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern said.
On Tuesday (US time), based on early, fuzzy images, scientists said Ultima Thule resembled a bowling pin.
As well as being the most distant object reached, Ultima Thule may be the oldest celestial object to be studied by a spacecraft.
Both spheres are similar in color, while the barely perceptible neck connecting the two lobes is noticeably less red, probably because of particles falling down the steep slopes into that area.
The first color image of Ultima Thule, taken at a distance of 137,000 km (85,000 mi) at 04:08 am UTC on January 1st, 2019.
The images released so far are "just the tip of the iceberg", Mr Stern said, adding only 1% of data stored on the spacecraft has now been received by scientists.
The team has dubbed the larger sphere "Ultima", which measures 19 km (12 mi) in diameter, and the smaller sphere "Thule" (14 km; 9 mi).
Mr Stern added: "It's going to just get better and better". "What we're saying is that the lighting geometry on approach with the Sun behind the spacecraft's back makes it hard to see whether the features on the surface are craters are not". The comment was greeted with applause by New Horizon team members and their supporters.