The next destination for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is a small space rock in the Kuiper belt called MU69. Now we know it may have an even smaller moon
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is on its way to a tiny rock in the outer reaches of the solar system. We don’t know much about that rock, but now we think it might have a moon.
The New Horizons probe flew past Pluto in 2015 and started heading toward a Kuiper belt object called 2014 MU69, a billion miles further away. Because MU69 is so distant, we don’t really know what it looks like.
From the few observations we do have, we’ve narrowed down the shape of MU69 to three main options: a bulbous peanut shape, a ‘contact binary’ with two rocks that touch one another, or even two separate objects orbiting one another.
Most of what we know about MU69 comes from pictures taken during occultations – times when the little rock passes between a bright star and our