Space snowman reveals secrets: few craters, no water

NASA's space snowman is revealing fresh secrets from its home far beyond Pluto. (Photo by NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/file)
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) NASA's space snowman is revealing fresh secrets from its home far beyond Pluto.

More than a year after its close encounter with the snowman-shaped object, the New Horizons spacecraft is still sending back observations from more than 4 billion miles away.

Astronomers reported Thursday that this cosmic body is relatively smooth with far fewer craters than expected.

It's also ultrared, or highly reflective, which is commonplace in the faraway Twilight Zone of our solar system known as the Kuiper Belt. While methane is present, no water has yet been found. It's the most distant object ever explored.