New Horizons’ next target has a bloody hue: NASA

New Horizons’ next target has a bloody hue: NASA

The next target for the National Aeronautics & Space Administration’s New Horizons spacecraft bears a colorful resemblance to Pluto, according to a new statement by mission scientists.
After making a historic flight past Pluto in July last year, NASA’s New Horizons is heading toward 2014 MU69, a space rock in the Kuiper Belt around a billion miles beyond Pluto.

Data collected by Hubble Space Telescope indicated that 2014 MU69 should be as red as Pluto is, if not redder. This is the first hint that scientists have got about the far flung object’s surface properties.

Amanda Zangari, a post-doctoral researcher from Southwest Research Institute, said, “The reddish color tells us the type of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 is. The data confirms that on New Year's Day 2019, New Horizons will be looking at one of the ancient building blocks of the planets.”

Mission scientists will detail the new findings about Pluto and Kuiper Belt Objects later this week at the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences and European Planetary Science Congress in Pasadena, California.

New Horizons spacecraft is expected to start surveying the far flung 2014 MU69, which is part of the space probe’s recently approved extended mission, in January 2019.