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News Release Archive:

News Release 79 of 1035

October 15, 2014 01:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2014-47

NASA's Hubble Telescope Finds Potential Kuiper Belt Targets for New Horizons Pluto Mission

October 15, 2014: The Kuiper Belt is a vast disk of icy debris left over from our Sun's formation 4.6 billion years ago. Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) are a unique class of solar-system body that has never been visited by interplanetary spacecraft. They contain well-preserved clues to the origin of our solar system. NASA's New Horizons probe will fly by Pluto in mid-2015 and then continue across the Kuiper Belt on its way toward interstellar space. The Hubble Space Telescope was used to do a deep sky survey to identify KBOs that the New Horizons spacecraft could potentially visit on its outbound trajectory. The deep sky survey was successful, and Hubble found targetable KBOs for New Horizons.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, SwRI, JHU/APL, and the New Horizons KBO Search Team

Artwork Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)