New Horizons’ next target might have a moon


WORKING FOR PEANUTS NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is racing toward a rock in the Kuiper Belt called MU69. Early reconnaissance suggests that the object might be shaped like a peanut (as seen in this artist’s illustration), or could be two separate bodies.

NEW ORLEANS — The New Horizons team may get more than it bargained for with its next target. Currently known as 2014 MU69, the object might, in fact, be two rocks orbiting each other — and those rocks may themselves host a small moon.

MU69 orbits the sun in the Kuiper Belt, a region more than 6.5 billion kilometers from Earth. That distance makes it difficult to get pictures of the object directly. But last summer, scientists positioned telescopes around the globe to catch sight of MU69’s shadow as it passed in front of a distant background star (SN Online:…

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