Pluto probe’s next target nicknamed Ultima Thule

Ultima Thule and New Horizons
An artist’s conception shows Ultima Thule with the New Horizons probe silhouetted by the sun. (NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI Illustration)

Nearly three years after flying past Pluto, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is heading for a target more than 4 billion miles from Earth. It’s officially known as 2014 MU69, but now the New Horizons team has decided to call it Ultima Thule (“UL-ti-ma THOO-lee”), or Ultima for short.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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