After its famous flyby of Pluto in July 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made history a second time when it buzzed the most distant object ever explored: 2014 MU69.
“We set a record! Never before has a spacecraft explored something so far away,” Alan Stern, the New Horizons principal investigator, said after the flyby. “I mean, think of it. We’re a billion miles further than Pluto, and now we’re going to keep going into the Kuiper Belt.”
Both Pluto and 2014 MU69 lie within the Kuiper Belt, a collection of icy rocks that surrounds the outer reaches of the solar system. These objects are thought to be pristine samples from the early solar system, cast out into the boundary zone through gravitational interactions with the larger objects that would grow into planets...Read More