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Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

APL Plans Next New Year's Eve: In the Kuiper Belt, with New Horizons

5 Jan 2018, 18:55 UTC
APL Plans Next New Year's Eve: In the Kuiper Belt, with New Horizons NASA/APL/SwRI/Steve Gribben

The New Year’s celebration to usher in 2019 will include an event like no other — one more than four billion miles from Earth.

In just under a year — shortly after midnight Eastern Time on Jan. 1, 2019 — NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, built and operated by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, will buzz by the most primitive and most distant object ever explored. New Horizons’ encounter with Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, which orbits a billion miles beyond Pluto, will offer the first close-up look at such a pristine building block of the solar system — and will be performed in a region of deep space that was practically unknown just a generation ago.

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