New targets for the New Horizons mission located beyond Pluto

New targets for the New Horizons mission located beyond Pluto

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have already discovered at least one to three Kuiper Belt objects that NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft can soon reach after flying to Pluto next year.

“After several weeks of searching, my team and I found the worlds in the Kuiper belt that New Horizons will reach after visiting Pluto!”, Says astronomer Alex Parker with the research institute in Boulder, Colorado

"In fact, we have from one to three Kuiper belt objects to choose from, but two of them require further observation in order to be confirmed," he added.

"In fact, we can have up to three Kuiper belts of objects to choose from, but the other two require further observation to confirm," he wrote.

“The best variant of the objects, known as“ potential target No. 1 ”, is in an almost circular orbit around the Sun and is 44 times farther from the Sun than the Earth. The object is several tens of kilometers in diameter,” noted Parker. “The other two potential objects are brighter, so if they are confirmed, one of them will become“ number 1, ”he continues.

New Horizons, as expected, will be the first spacecraft to fly past Pluto after the latter has ceased to be considered a planet. Now Pluto is considered a “dwarf planet” and the most frozen bodies in Poyper Kuiper, a region beyond the orbit of Neptune.

The bodies in the Kuiper belt are untouched objects remaining after the formation of the solar system and are building blocks for dwarf planets such as Pluto.

Objects discovered by NASA in the Kuiper Belt are about 10 times larger than ordinary comets, but having only 1-2 percent of Pluto's size.

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