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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

Looking Back at MU69

A crescent view of MU69 reveals its bizarre shape. Let's look at lots of other fun-shaped space crescents.

A few new images of MU69

New Horizons is back in action after going quiet for a period of solar conjunction following the 1 January flyby of 2014 MU69 (informally nicknamed

MU69 appears as a bi-lobed baby comet in latest New Horizons images

The latest images downlinked from New Horizons show MU69 to be a textbook example of a contact binary. How do contact binaries form? Updated with images released on 3 January.

New Horizons fast approaching 2014 MU69

Unaffected by the shutdown of the U.S. government, New Horizons is still on course for its New Year’s encounter with 2014 MU69 (nicknamed “Ultima Thule”). This post collects the latest images from New Horizons' approach to the tiny Kuiper belt object and will be updated regularly.

What to Expect When New Horizons Visits 2014 MU69, Ultima Thule

New Horizons is rapidly approaching its New Year’s encounter with the most distant world ever visited, 2014 MU69. Closest approach will be at a distance of 3,500 kilometers at about 05:33 on 1 January UTC.

'Everything about this flyby is tougher': New Horizons just over 100 days from Ultima Thule

On Jan. 1, NASA's New Horizons will perform a high-risk, high-reward flyby of an ancient world on the outskirts of the solar system.

OSIRIS-REx and New Horizons catch first sight of their targets

Both OSIRIS-REx and New Horizons achieved first light on their still-distant targets this week. Between now and the end of 2018, Bennu and 2014 MU69 will turn from points of light into places.

Sketching a science meeting

The Planetary Society has always enjoyed the connections between science and art, so when I saw Leila Qışın's sketches pop up on her Twitter feed during the recent New Horizons team meeting, I knew I had to share them with you.

New Horizons prepares for encounter with 2014 MU69

Throughout 2018, New Horizons will cruise toward its January 1 encounter with 2014 MU69. Preparations for the flyby are nearly complete.

In total eclipse of a star, New Horizons' future flyby target makes its presence known

The team reported two weeks ago that the first attempts at observing 2014 MU69 were unsuccessful. But in their third try, on July 17, astronomers in Argentina saw the telltale sign of MU69's presence: a stellar wink.

When New Horizons' next target passed in front of a star, this scientist was watching from Argentina

A team of scientists recently traveled to rural Argentina in the hopes of catching New Horizons' next target—Kuiper Belt object MU 69—crossing in front of a distant star.

DPS/EPSC update on New Horizons at the Pluto system and beyond

Last week's Division for Planetary Sciences/European Planetary Science Congress meeting was chock-full of science from New Horizons at Pluto.

New Horizons Science Team Meeting Report

On July 6 at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, the science team convened at the place where Pluto was discovered. Ted Stryk reports from the meeting.

New Horizons extended mission target selected

The New Horizons mission has formally selected its next target after Pluto: a tiny, dim, frozen world currently named 2014 MU69. The spacecraft will perform a series of four rocket firings in October and November to angle its trajectory to pass close by 2014 MU69 in early January 2019. In so doing, New Horizons will become the first flyby craft to pass by a target that was not discovered before the spacecraft launched.

Finally! New Horizons has a second target

What a huge relief: there is finally a place for New Horizons to visit beyond Pluto. A team of researchers led by John Spencer has discovered three possible targets, all in the Cold Classical part of the Kuiper belt. One is particularly easy to reach. New Horizons would fly past the 30-45-kilometer object in January 2019.

The most exciting citizen science project ever (to me, anyway)

A guest blogger here recently rounded up the large number of participatory research projects that are collectively known as citizen science. I think these are all very cool and I encourage you to check them out but none of them has yet inspired me to spend my precious time as grunt labor on a gigantic collective project. Until now.

Space is vast. There's a lot of exploring to do.

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