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A composite image showing the size of PT1 a Kuiper Belt object recently discovered with the Hubble Space Telescope

This composite image illustrates the size of “PT1,” a Kuiper Belt object (KBO) recently discovered with the Hubble Space Telescope and potential flyby target for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, relative to New Horizons’ prime target, Pluto, and the target of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (“C-G”). PT1 is much bigger than typical comets like C-G, which may itself have originated in the Kuiper Belt, and may be a fragment of a parent body similar to PT1. However, it is much smaller than Pluto, the largest object in the Kuiper Belt, which may have formed from building blocks similar to PT1. Exploration of KBOs like PT1 might tell us much about the origin of both comets and larger objects like Pluto.

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

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