Spacecraft halfway from Pluto to dwarf planet 2014 MU69


This video says about itself:

9 January 2017

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has now traveled half the distance from Pluto – its storied first target – to 2014 MU69, the Kuiper Belt object it will fly past on Jan. 1, 2019.

From Sci-news.com:

NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft Halfway from Pluto to Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69

Apr 4, 2017 by Enrico de Lazaro

Continuing on its path through the outer regions of our Solar System, New Horizons has now traveled half the distance from the dwarf planet Pluto to its next target, the Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69.

New Horizons is currently 486.19 million miles (782.45 million km) from 2014 MU69 and approximately 3.5 billion miles (5.7 billion km) from Earth.

“It’s fantastic to have completed half the journey to our next flyby,” said New Horizons principal investigator Dr. Alan Stern, from the Southwest Research Institute.

“That flyby will set the record for the most distant world ever explored in the history of civilization.”

2014 MU69 was discovered on June 26, 2014 by astronomers using the NASA/ ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Also known as 1110113Y, it orbits the Sun once every 293 years.

According to NASA scientists, 2014 MU69 is a relatively small Kuiper Belt object (KBO).

It is estimated to have a diameter of 30 miles (48 km) — that’s more than 10 times larger and 1,000 times more massive than typical comets, but only about 0.5 to 1% of the size (and about 1/10,000th the mass) of Pluto.

The surface of this KBO is just as red as, if not redder than, Pluto’s surface.

New Horizons’ planned rendezvous with 2014 MU69 is January 1, 2019.

“The January 2019 MU69 flyby is the next big event for us, but New Horizons is truly a mission to more broadly explore the Kuiper Belt,” said New Horizons project scientist Dr. Hal Weaver, from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

“In addition to 2014 MU69, we plan to study more than two-dozen other KBOs in the distance and measure the charged particle and dust environment all the way across the Kuiper Belt.”

Why it’s good news that Pluto doesn’t have rings. New Horizons’ next destination might be ring-free, too, promising a safe passage for the spacecraft. By Lisa Grossman, 11:30am, October 4, 2017.

New Horizons’ next target might have a moon. The Kuiper Belt object MU69 may have a smaller companion: here.

14 thoughts on “Spacecraft halfway from Pluto to dwarf planet 2014 MU69

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