LAUREL, Md. – Newest in NASA New Year's Eve Meeting (All Locally):
NASA's aircraft launches a new year in the far-off world of the ever-explored, billion-mile outside Pluto.
Flight controllers say it all seemed good to fly a small ice facility in New Horizons at 12:33 on Tuesday, three and a half years after meeting with Pluto. However, the confirmation will not come for hours, given the great distance. The mysterious target named Ultima Thule (TOO-lee) is 4 billion kilometers from Earth.
Scientists want the New Horizons to observe Ultima Thule and not to return home. So he will not know until late in the morning if the aircraft survived.
With the new autopilot horizons, Mission Control at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, was empty. Instead, team members and their guests gathered near the midnight return and again 33 minutes later.
Queen Guitarist Brian May, who is also an astrophysicist, joined the team of John Hopkins for the premiere of the song he wrote for a great event.
The small, ice-free world of billions of miles out of Pluto gets visitors for the New Year.
NASA's New Horizons will fly next to the mysterious facility called Ultima Thule (TOO-lee) at 12:33 pm on Tuesday. It will become the farthest world ever explored by humanity.
Flying takes place three and a half years after the New Horizons crossed Pluto and gave the first big planes of the dwarf planet.
This time the drama will develop 4 billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) from Earth, so it will be 10 hours before the flight controllers in Laurel, Maryland, know if the aircraft survived a close encounter.
Leading scientist Alan Stern said on Monday that the team had been in this year's time and now "is happening!"