Scientists give a nickname to New Horizons probe’s post-Pluto target: Ultima Thule

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News Brief: Nearly three years after flying past Pluto, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is heading for a mysterious target more than 4 billion miles from Earth. That target is officially known as 2014 MU69, but now the New Horizons team has decided to call it Ultima Thule (“UL-ti-ma THOO-lee”), or Ultima for short. Ultima Thule is a Latin term that traditionally refers to a place beyond the known world, and it was one of the favorites in an online contest conducted last year. But the nickname may not stick: An official name will be proposed to the International Astronomical Union after New Horizons’ Jan. 1 flyby, when Ultima actually becomes a known world. Or maybe worlds.

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