Scientists suspect that 2014 MU69, nicknamed Ultima Thule, has not strayed far from where it formed some 4.5 billion years ago. Circling the Sun about 1 billion mi. past Pluto, Ultima Thule is one of hundreds of thousands of small bodies in the Kuiper Belt, a circumstellar disk of icy objects orbiting 30-50 times farther away from the Sun than Earth.  On Jan. 1, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft followed up its pioneering July 2015 flyby of Pluto with an even closer pass by Ultima ...

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