A NASA space craft has delivered an incredibly long-distance gift for us humans bound here on Earth. On Jan. 1 at 12:33 a.m., the New Horizons space craft passed Ultima Thule (TOO-LEE). This comes 3-½ years after passing by Pluto. At a distance of 4 billion miles, this becomes the most distant object ever observed by a man-made space craft.
Four billion miles is a hard number to wrap your head around. I like to think of it as four thousand million miles.  The Sun is about 93 million miles from Earth, so that means that New Horizons is over 43 trips to the sun away from Earth.  That is really difficult to imagine.  And the real kicker is that is not even getting off the front porch when we consider the size of our galaxy.  And that is not even considering the thousands of other galaxies we know exist.  
It’s kind of romantic to consider that tiny little icy world is getting a visitor on New Year’s Day. They say it will take months to download the information and pictures that New Horizon is sending back to earth.  It takes 10 hours for the signals to reach Earth.  Alan Stern is in charge of New Horizon’s mission, he said they have been working on this fly-by for years.  It is hard for me to imagine how they do what they do, I guess that is why I am just a humble mailman.  
Ultima Thule (which means “beyond the known world”) is an oblong icy rock, thought to be about 18 miles in diameter. The tiny icy world orbits the Sun every 297 years. The early images reveal a peanut-shaped world.  But it is still possible that it could be two separate objects. Let’s keep our eyes open for the developing revelation and images of this tiny distant neighbor of ours.  

God bless you all,
RHM