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Science Ticker

Life after Pluto: New Horizons to head for Kuiper belt boulder

New Horizons will buzz a boulder in the Kuiper belt, seen in this artist’s illustration, on January 1, 2019.

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With Pluto receding in the rear view mirror, New Horizons now has its sights set on a second target. Pending final approval by NASA, an icy boulder dubbed 2014 MU69 — over 1 billion kilometers beyond Pluto — will be graced by the spacecraft’s presence on January 1, 2019, space agency officials announced August 28.

The next stop lives deep in the Kuiper belt, a ring of frozen debris past Neptune that is left over from the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. New Horizons will fire its engines four times in late October and early November to send it on its way. 

Animals

Tropical songbirds get their growth spurt late

By Allison Bohac 2:00pm, August 27, 2015
Tropical songbirds are late bloomers, but that delayed development may give them an advantage after leaving the nest.
Planetary Science

Mountains, craters revealed in latest images of dwarf planet Ceres

By Christopher Crockett 7:59am, August 27, 2015
The Dawn spacecraft sent back postcards from Ceres that show off the dwarf planet’s varied terrain.
Clinical Trials,, Health

Earlier is better for HIV treatment

By Nathan Seppa 5:00pm, August 26, 2015
People infected with HIV benefit from starting a drug regimen early, an international study finds.
Health,, Evolution,, Animals

Virus closely related to hepatitis A discovered in seals

By Sarah Schwartz 10:17am, August 25, 2015
Scientists have discovered a relative of the hepatitis A virus in seals.
Animals,, Ecology

Chimps keep numbers high as forest losses mount

By Bruce Bower 8:00pm, August 24, 2015
African apes show surprising resilience in face of forest destruction.
Planetary Science

Flyby of Dione yields stunning pictures of icy Saturn moon

By Christopher Crockett 5:09pm, August 24, 2015
Saturn’s moon Dione shows off its ripping landscapes during the Cassini spacecraft’s final flyby.
Immune Science,, Health

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise

By Nathan Seppa 2:00pm, August 19, 2015
An experimental vaccine against the MERS virus triggers immune protection, a new study finds.
Astronomy

Eight more galaxies found orbiting the Milky Way

By Christopher Crockett 8:25am, August 19, 2015
The dozens of satellite galaxies that orbit the Milky Way make excellent laboratories for studying dark matter.
Animals

Another tiny frog species found in sky islands of Brazil

By Teresa Shipley Feldhausen 12:00pm, August 18, 2015
Another new species of miniature frog has been discovered amongst the leaf litter in the high cloud forests of southern Brazil.
Condensed Matter

Quest for room-temperature superconductivity warms up

By Andrew Grant 11:00am, August 17, 2015
Scientists have demonstrated that a material can conduct electrical current without resistance at temperatures as high as –70° Celsius.
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