NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will ring in the new year with an epic flyby at the edge of the solar system, and the stage is set for a truly historic encounter. And it's happening amid a partial government shutdown.
"Very few teams have had this experience and this privilege of crossing the entirety of our solar system on a mission," Stern said in the webcast. "Really only the Pioneers and the Voyagers that came before us."
Not a lot is known about Ultima Thule. It is much smaller than Pluto, but its exact size and shape are unknown. It may have a reddish tint, but it isn't reflecting light like scientists initially expected, raising eyebrows ahead of Tuesday's flyby.