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Artist's impression of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft encountering an object in the distant Kuiper Belt

Artist’s impression of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft encountering an object in the distant Kuiper Belt, the vast disk of icy debris left over from our Sun’s formation 4.6 billion years ago. Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) are a unique class of solar-system body that has never been visited by interplanetary spacecraft. They contain well-preserved clues to the origin of our solar system. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered three KBOs that New Horizons could potentially visit after it flies by Pluto, its primary mission target, in July 2015. The KBOs were detected through a dedicated Hubble observing program by a New Horizons search team that was awarded telescope time for this purpose.

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Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

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