New Horizons isn't going to get much of a rest. Following its historic flyby of Pluto on July 14, NASA has selected the next potential destination for the unmanned spacecraft – a planetoid called 2014 MU69 that lies a billion miles beyond Pluto's orbit.
Nasa's New Horizons spacecraft has a new target to aim for following its historic flyby of Pluto. It is called 2014 MU69, and was one of two comet-like objects that were under consideration by scientists working on the mission. The US space agency will now carry out a review of the plan before officially approving the mission's extension.
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.
NASA’s New Horizons robotic probe has received the green light to fly onward to the Kuiper Belt object (KBO) 2014 MU69. 2014 MU69, otherwise known as 1110113Y, is a relatively small KBO discovered in June 2014 by astronomers using the NASA/ ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Above: artist’s impression of New Horizons encountering a massive object in the distant Kuiper Belt. Image credit: NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute / Alex Parker.