LAUREL, MD – A small, ice-free world of billions of miles outside 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!"