Launched as a part of NASA’s New Frontiers program aimed at researching the region of our solar system beyond Pluto, New Horizons is an interplanetary space probe responsible for conducting flybys of some of our solar system’s most distant objects.

Engineers at the John Hopkins University of Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) designed the craft while collaborating with the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). Launched on January 19, 2006 from Cape Canaveral on a course to Pluto, New Horizons became the first spacecraft to explore the dwarf planet after arriving on July 14, 2015.

It completed its flyby of Pluto on October 25, 2016, proceeding to the next phase of its mission to observe Ultima Thule, a trans-Neptunian Object found in the Keiper Belt. The first encounter with Ultima Thule will occur on January 1, 2019. Ultima Thule is located 44.25AU, over 4.1 billion miles (6.6 billion km), away from Earth. If the mission succeeds, Ultima Thule will become the farthest object in the Solar System ever visited by a human made spacecraft. I hope the probes brought a jacket, it’s probably cold out there.