New Horizons probe set for historic New Year’s rendezvous in deep space

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By Denise Chow and David Freeman

As revelers around the world gather to celebrate the start of 2019, a NASA space probe will be ringing in the new year with a meet-up of its own some 4 billion miles from Earth.

The New Horizons probe has been speeding through space for the past 13 years and is now closing in on an object in the Kuiper Belt, a vast region of space beyond Neptune’s orbit that is full of icy bodies and studded with dwarf planets. If all goes according to plan, the probe will fly by the object, Ultima Thule, at 12:33 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, Jan. 1.

The flyby, which will be broadcast live on NASA TV beginning at 12:15 a.m. EST on Tuesday, will make Ultima Thule the most distant object ever visited by a spacecraft.

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