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NASA selects Kuiper Belt target for New Horizons
Posted: Mon, Aug 31, 2015, 10:46 PM ET (0246 GMT)
New Horizons flying past 2014 MU69 (NASA/SwRI illus.) NASA announced Friday that it has chosen a small object in the distant Kuiper Belt that the New Horizons spacecraft will fly past at the beginning of 2019. The plan, proposed by the New Horizons team and approved by NASA, calls for directing New Horizons past the object 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019. The object, about 45 kilometers across, was one of two candidate Kuiper Belt objects considered for the flyby, and won out primarily because it requires New Horizons to use less propellant to reach. New Horizons, launched in 2006, flew past Pluto and its moons in July. The spacecraft has returned only a small fraction of the data collected during the flyby, with the rest to be returned through late 2016.
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