New Horizons is in its eleventh year since it travels the space. However, it has another decade to discover some of its multitude of secrets. While most of its time the little space probe is traveling under hibernation for power saving reasons, it was brought back to life on December 6, 2014. This was when the spacecraft was in proximity to Pluto. After three years, the probe has completed its first mission. It is now ready for its next milestone, which is exploring an object of the Kuiper Belt dubbed as 2014 MU69.
Once It Reaches Next Milestone, New Horizons Will Register a Record Performance
Earlier this week, NASA made an important announcement regarding one of its most ambitious space projects. The little space probe known as New Horizons managed to reach places that were never seen before by humanity. Now that the spacecraft completed its first major task, which was the exploration of Pluto, it is now traveling towards its next milestone.
At the moment, New Horizons has 486.19 million miles more until it reaches its next milestone, the 2014 MU69 of the Kuiper Belt. The spacecraft will cover this distance by New Year’s Eve in 2019. It is now only half way from Pluto to 2014 MU69. On April 7th, New Horizons will go down in history as the first spacecraft that managed to explore such a distant part of our Galaxy.
For the Next 157 Days, the Space Probe Will Travel in Hibernation Mode
For the moment, it is crucial to keep the spacecraft under surveillance and maintain its amount of left fuel. However, scientists declared that it has enough power to explore not only 2014 MU69, but also other Kuiper Belt objects as well. To avoid any shortage of fuel, New Horizons will start its journey in hibernation mode once again. This event will happen by the end of this week. The spacecraft will remain will only vital operations on for a total of 157 days.
The little space probe needs some well-deserved rest. It has been awake for two and a half years now. Besides being the first spacecraft to reach Pluto, the spacecraft transmitted important information back home. It captured more details about distant KBOs, discovered unique information about the dust and environment of the Kuiper Belt, and managed to study even the heliosphere. This is a hydrogen layer that enfolds the sun.
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