News Picks : Hubble to look for second destination for New Horizons
Nature: The New Horizons probe is approaching Pluto, and in its original mission plan, after passing the former planet it is supposed to head toward an interesting, but yet to be chosen, object in the Kuiper belt. Last month the team operating the probe was worried that it might not be able to find a suitable target, so it applied for observation time on the Hubble Space Telescope. The group that allocates time on Hubble has provided the New Horizons team with about 40 hours of observation time (observation periods for the telescope are normally counted in Earth orbits). The ground-based search that the New Horizons team had been using to find a suitable target had found 50 such objects, but none in an area of space that the craft could reach. The team believes that using Hubble will increase the chances of finding a reachable target from 40% to 90%.