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Image showing the path of NASA's New Horizons  spacecraft through the outer solar system and the Kuiper Belt

This perspective view shows the path of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft (yellow) through the outer solar system and the Kuiper Belt. The orbits of the terrestrial and giant planets are shown in blue. The dots show the locations of representative asteroids, close to the sun, and Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs), which are mostly beyond the orbit of Neptune, the outermost giant planet.

Members of the “cold classical” Kuiper Belt, the most pristine part of the belt, which New Horizons will pass through after its Pluto encounter, are shown in orange. The largest KBOs are labeled — although note that Eris, Makemake and Haumea are situated farther from the cold classical belt than is apparent from the perspective of this diagram. Most of the fainter KBOs shown are not real objects, but represent the expected numbers and positions of all KBOs larger than about 100 kilometers (60 miles) in diameter, extrapolated from existing surveys.

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

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