New Horizons has transferred almost 99 per cnet of all the data it had captured during its closest encounter with Pluto and is now racing towards its next target – the Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 that is possibly red in colour.
Current at a distance of 3.4 billion miles (5.5 billion kilometers) from Earth and about 340 million miles (540 million kilometers) beyond Pluto, New Horizons is flying at blazing fast speed of about nine miles (14 kilometers) every second towards its next target, which according to NASA is a reddish Kuiper Belt object located some 600 million miles (nearly 1 billion kilometers) from its current position.
NASA revealed in a recent post on its website that over the last two years, New Horizons cameras and Hubble space telescope have been keeping tabs on nearly a dozen small worlds in the Kuiper Belt. This regions has been barely explored because of its distance from Earth and the time it takes to reach there.
New Horizons next target is MU69, which is one of the smallest KBO to have its color measured. Astronomers say that using the information from Hubble and New Horizons they have been able to confirm that this particular space rock is one of the oldest and a relic of the so-called cold classical region of the Kuiper Belt. This particular regions is said to house some of the most prehistoric material in the solar system.
Based on the colour, astronomers have been able to determine the type of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69. At current speeds, New Horizons is schedule to arrive at MU69 on the New Year’s Day 2019 and will be looking at one of the ancient building blocks of the planets.