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). However, the space agency still must officially approve a New Horizons mission extension for the second flyby to take place in 2019.
2014 MU69: Next Target for New HorizonsThis diagram shows the projected route of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft toward 2014 MU69, orbiting in the Kuiper Belt about 1 billion miles beyond Pluto. Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
An annotated overlay of 5 Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 discovery images of 2014 MU69 taken on June 24, 2014. The images were taken at 10-minute intervals. The positions of 2014 MU69 in the 5 images are shown by the green circles. Image via Wikimedia Commons.