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NASA spacecraft glides towards a small ice world outside Pluto



LAUREL, Md. – A small, ice-cold world billions of miles outside Pluto gets visitors to New Year's Day.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will fly through a mysterious object nicknamed Ultima Thule (TOO-lee) at 12:33 Tuesday. This will be the most distant world humanity has ever explored.

The fly took place 3 1/2 years after New Horizons swung past Pluto and produced the first close-up photo of the dwarf planet.

This time, the drama will open 4 billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) from Earth, so far it will be 10 hours before flight controllers in Laurel, Maryland, know whether the spacecraft survived close encounters.

Leading scientist Alan Stern said on Monday that the team had been working for years now and now, "that happened !!"


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