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And the year before the Pluto flyby, 2014 MU69, which is just dozens of miles across, finally popped up. And we’re going to send a spacecraft there.”The spacecraft will also get a distant look at a handful of other Kuiper Belt Objects that were too far off to visit.
It was a decade after scientists started looking.“We know so little about this object,” says 2014 MU69 discoverer Marc Buie, an astronomer and long-time Pluto researcher from the Southwest Research Institute (Sw RI). Those observations should still help astronomers learn about this part of the solar system that’s so hard to see from Earth.
Broadening the Hunt And as New Horizons astronomers like Buie seek to learn more about 2014 MU69 to plan the upcoming flyby, other members of the team are trying to extend the mission one more time.
Stern, the New Horizons mission lead, says the odds of finding yet another target are “small, but not zero.” That isn’t stopping scientists from searching. And they’ve turned to the Hubble Space Telescope once again.
The eyes of the world turned from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft after its 2015 flyby at Pluto.
The rim of the summit depression also shows concentric fracturing.
Searching for a Time Capsule New Horizons was always intended to explore beyond Pluto.
The dwarf planet has many thousands of smaller, similarly icy neighbors in the Kuiper Belt.
Years of searching with ground-based telescopes came up empty.
Ultimately, astronomers turned to the Hubble Space Telescope’s deep gaze.
Astronomers had to find New Horizons’ next target amid a sea of brighter objects.