Situational awareness: "U.S. stocks suffer worst year since 2008 financial crisis; S&P 500 sees 6.2 percent annual drop, Dow falls 5.6 percent." [AP]
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
NASA is on track to give the world a very special gift just 33 minutes after the ball drops tonight in New York City, scientists said today.
Why it matters: NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will pass just 22,000 miles away from Ultima Thule, which is 4 billion miles from Earth, wasn't even discovered until 2014, and is the farthest object to ever be explored by humankind, Axios Science editor Andrew Freedman notes.
The big picture: The flyby of Ultima Thule, whose nickname means "beyond the known world," may give scientists new and vital insights into how the solar system and planets like Earth first formed.
Be smart: Scientists believe that Ultima Thule has been frozen in time since the solar system first formed about 4.6 billion years ago.
How to watch: To follow along with the mission, watch a livestream from Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland, and monitor its social media accounts. Events will also stream online via NASA.
People gather as fireworks light up the Hong Kong skyline marking the New Year celebrations.
It's such an honor to work with the incredibly talented visuals team at Axios, including illustrators Sarah Grillo, Rebecca Zisser and Aïda Amer, and data graphics wizards Chris Canipe, Andrew Witherspoon, Naema Ahmed and Harry Stevens — all led by Lazaro Gamio.
Below are 10 of the data graphics team's favorite projects of 2018: