New Horizons Kuiper Belt Extended Mission Science Planning Opportunity

The New Horizons spacecraft is depicted during the July 14, 2015 closest approach to the Pluto system in this artist’s representation. Image Credit: NASA

The New Horizons spacecraft is depicted during the July 14, 2015 closest approach to the Pluto system in this artist’s representation. Image Credit: NASA

June 13, 2016 – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is currently on course for a potential close flyby of the 20-40 km wide KBO 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019. If the proposed New Horizons Kuiper Belt Extended Mission (NH-KEM) is approved, the spacecraft will also observe ~20 other Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) at phase angles and/or at resolutions not otherwise possible, producing a unique database of KBO phase curves, satellite searches, and ring searches.

NASA approval of the mission would mean that both distant KBO observations and MU69 close flyby planning must begin almost immediately in order to meet scheduling requirements.

The New Horizons team plans to use a portion of its Science Team Meeting being held near NASA’s Ames Research Center during the week of September 19 to gather community input to NH-KEM observation plans.

Those who are interested in listening to — or potentially presenting at — this activity should complete the indication of interest form at:

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/kem-workshop-1/index.php