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.
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.
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
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.