SCIENCE

NASA Spacecraft Hurtles Toward Tiny, Icy World Beyond Pluto

Dec 31, 2018, 9:42 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:16 pm
Principal Investigator Alan Stern (R) and scientist John Grunsfeld discuss the latest image from the New Horizons spacecraft that passed with 7,800 miles of Pluto yesterday, during a NASA news conference July 15, 2015 in Laurel, Maryland. New Horizons will be flying by an icy world beyond Pluto nicknamed Ultima Thule on New Year's Day 2019. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
(R)

LAUREL, Md. (AP) — A tiny, icy world a billion miles beyond Pluto is getting a New Year’s Day visitor.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is set to fly past a mysterious object nicknamed Ultima Thule (TOO-lee) at 12:33 a.m. Tuesday. It will become the most distant world ever explored by humankind.

The flyby comes 3½ years after New Horizons swung past Pluto and yielded the first close-ups of the dwarf planet.

This time, the drama will unfold 4 billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) from Earth, so far away it will be 10 hours before flight controllers in Laurel, Maryland, know whether the spacecraft survived the close encounter.

Lead scientist Alan Stern said Monday the team has worked years for this moment and now, “it’s happening!!”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Science

Kennedy Space Center on September 03, 2022 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)...
MARCIA DUNN AP Aerospace Writer

EXPLAINER: Why is a NASA spacecraft crashing into an asteroid?

A NASA spacecraft is about to clobber a small, harmless asteroid millions of miles away. The spacecraft named Dart will zero in on the asteroid Monday, intent on slamming it head-on at 14,000 mph. The impact should be just enough to nudge the asteroid into a slightly tighter orbit around its companion space rock. It's the first save-the-world experiment of its kind. If successful, the test will demonstrate that if a killer asteroid ever heads our way, we'll stand a fighting chance. Dart blasted off on the $325 million mission last fall.
20 hours ago
An illustration shows NASA's DART spacecraft and the Italian Space Agency's LICIACube prior to impa...
Ashley Strickland, CNN

What will be visible when DART spacecraft crashes into tiny asteroid

The NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test aims to make history on Monday at 7:14 p.m. ET when it slams into Dimorphos, a tiny asteroid moon orbiting the larger asteroid Didymos.
3 days ago
NASA’s Artemis I rocket sits on launch pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Center as it is prepared for an ...
MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

Approaching storm may delay launch try for NASA moon rocket

NASA's new moon rocket could face more launch delays, this time by tropical weather.
3 days ago
Doctors at Huntsman Cancer Institute have conducted trials for PARP inhibitors to treat ovarian can...
Jed Boal

Drug trial is helping Utah woman beat back ovarian cancer

In the past, women with advanced ovarian cancer did not have a good chance of living five years past diagnosis.
5 days ago
NASA's Artemis I rocket sits on launch pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Center on September 03, 2022 in Ca...
MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

NASA fuels moon rocket in test, hit again with pesky leaks

NASA's new moon rocket sprouted more fuel leaks in a test ahead of a possible launch attempt next week.
5 days ago
Webb's Near-Infrared Camera images objects in the near-infrared range from 0.6 to 5 microns, so Nep...
Katie Hunt, CNN

James Webb Space Telescope captures strikingly crisp images of Neptune and its rings

New images released Wednesday from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope are revealing Neptune, and the planet's hard-to-detect rings, in a fresh light.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
NASA Spacecraft Hurtles Toward Tiny, Icy World Beyond Pluto