Sunday, August 30, 2015

Object Beyond Pluto is Next Target for NASA's New Horizons Probe | VIDEO

Object Past Beyond Pluto is Next Target for NASA's New Horizons Probe
Artist's impression of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft encountering a Pluto-like object in the distant Kuiper Belt. NASA announced today (Aug. 28, 2015) that it has selected 2014 MU69 as its first choice for the probe's secondary mission.
Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker

By Calla Cofield
Space.com
8-28-15

     NASA's New Horizons probe, which flew past Pluto last month, now has a second target to aim for.

The New Horizons team has selected an object named 2014 MU69, which lies roughly 1 billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto, as the next target for up-close study by the spacecraft, NASA announced today (Aug. 28).

[...]

In 2014, Hubble identified five objects that New Horizons could potentially reach after its encounter with Pluto. The list was later narrowed down to two prime candidates, including 2014 MU69.

The Kuiper Belt is a largely unexplored region of the solar system; NASA's twin Voyager probes passed through it, but did not make close encounters with any objects, including Pluto. [...]

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