New Hori­zons meets 2014 MU69

All About Space - - 2019 Space Events -

Three-and-a-half years ago New Hori­zons flew 12,500 kilo­me­tres (7,767 miles) above Pluto, gift­ing us close-up im­ages of the dwarf planet and its heart-shaped Tom­baugh Re­gio, but its mis­sion was far from over as it headed deeper into the Kuiper Belt. NASA de­cided the next tar­get in its sights would be (486958) 2014 MU69, nick­named Ul­tima Thule by the New Hori­zons team, which lies about 1.6 bil­lion

kilo­me­tres (1 bil­lion miles) beyond Pluto.

Due to ar­rive at the be­gin­ning of the year, this will be the fur­thest ob­ject vis­ited by a space­craft and will pro­vide in­valu­able science about Kuiper Belt Ob­jects. New Hori­zons is planned to fly within 3,540 kilo­me­tres (2,200 miles) of 2014 MU69, us­ing its ar­ray of on­board tools to map its sur­face, tem­per­a­ture and com­po­si­tion and

de­ter­min­ing how this pri­mal ob­ject evolved.

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