The probe New horizon awake and ready to explore the Kuiper belt

NASA launched the probe “New horizons” to Pluto visited and became its first researcher, a few years ago. When this phase of the mission ended, the robot went to the new Dali. Now the “New horizons” will search the Kuiper belt objects. The probe came out of hibernation and began preparations for the mission. The Kuiper belt is a ring of icy objects beyond Neptune. After Pluto have stayed a planet for several decades, scientists have understood that it is not a planet, but just a large object in the Kuiper belt and lowered him in rank. Mission “New horizons” was the first time mankind had the opportunity to observe such a distant object is so close, but the probe is going to beat his record early next year.

New horizon is perfect to explore other Kuiper belt objects for several reasons. First, the probe already in place. It took years for the spacecraft reached the outer Solar system, New horizons went from Earth back when Pluto was a planet. In addition to this, the mission to Pluto was just a flyby. It took too much fuel to slow the probe that entered the orbit of Pluto, so the whole phase of data collection took several hours. Due to the fact that the spacecraft copes with the scientific part of his work, it was decided to keep him alive for a mission to the Kuiper belt.

Now the probe has successfully emerged from hibernation. In hibernate mode it was loaded at the end of 2017; all systems turned off, the computer only sent periodic status updates to the Ground. Previously, NASA has confirmed that the probe worked only on these signals, but now it’s gone completely in work mode. The state of the system is impeccable.

When New horizons has started the second part of its mission, NASA still didn’t know much about small objects in the Kuiper belt, but have since identified a few possible targets. The Agency selected object MU69, sometimes called “Ultima Thule”. It’ll be one or two pieces of ice and rock with a diameter of 32 kilometers. Very soon the scientists will begin preparations for the study MU69.

The asteroid is 1.6 billion kilometers beyond Pluto (Pluto is 4.5 billion kilometers from the Earth). It will be the most remote object ever visited by a device with the Earth. The flyby is scheduled for January 2019.

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