Thursday, April 13, 2017

Are We There Yet?

Parents driven insane by that question from the back seat would probably lose it completely if their journey was by way of the New Horizons spacecraft. Its last stop was Pluto during the summer of 2015, and nearly 2 years later it's only halfway to the next -- the Kuiper Belt object 2014MU69.

Ol' MU is somewhere between 10 and 30 miles in diameter and takes 295 years to go around the sun. It's more that 45 times as far away from the sun as we are, about 4.1 billion miles on average.

Even using the space-based Hubble telescope, not much more than 2014MU69's orbit can be made out from Earth. But New Horizons will probably tell us some more starting on New Year's Day in 2019. After it finishes it's 157-day nap, that is. If those blasted kids would give it a rest.

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