New Horizons' Historic Flyby of Ultima Thule: Full Coverage

On Jan. 1, 2019, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft rang in the New Year by making history: the first flyby of an object in the Kuiper Belt in the extreme outer solar system. Read the main story here! The spacecraft, which already flew by Pluto in 2015, will visit the Ultima Thule, a mysterious object classified as 2014 MU69. See our complete flyby coverage here!

Meet Ultima ThuleIn PhotosNew Horizons ExplainedPluto Flyby

Images and Video

Full Coverage

Wednesday, Jan. 2

'Meet Ultima Thule': 1st Color Photo of New Horizons Target Reveals a Red 'Snowman'
Scientists with NASA's New Horizons mission unveiled the first color photo of the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule near the edge of the solar system. The new images reveal a strange object that was once two round bodies that merged into one.

NASA's New Horizons Just Made the Most Distant Flyby in Space History. So, What's Next?
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has completed its epic flyby of the most distant object ever explored, the recently-unveiled fossil from the beginning of the solar system, Ultima Thule. So what's next?

Queen's Brian May Releases 'New Horizons' Single to Celebrate Epic Flyby
Only moments before New Horizons flew by the most distant solar system object ever visited, astrophysicist and Queen guitarist Brian May released his new single based on the mission.

Tuesday, Jan. 1

New Horizons Spacecraft Makes New Year's Day Flyby of Ultima Thule, the Farthest Rendezvous Ever
What a way to ring in the new year. As people around the world celebrated the start of 2019, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft made history with the flyby of Ultima Thule, a mysterious object 4.1 billion miles from Earth in the Kuiper Belt.

Ultima Thule Looks Like a Bowling Pin in Space in New Horizons Flyby Photo
Ultima Thule, the weird Kuiper Belt object that NASA's New Horizons spacecraft visited in a historic flyby on Jan. 1, 2019, looks like a cosmic bowling pin, scientists say.

Monday, Dec. 31

NASA's New Horizons Spies Elongated Target Ultima Thule Ahead of Flyby
The latest New Horizons image of the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule reveals its elongated shape.

NASA Probe to Make Historic New Year's Day Flyby of Mysterious Ultima Thule. Here's What to Expect.
As 2018 draws to a close, one group of people plans to celebrate something far more unusual — a flyby of Ultima Thule, the most distant solar system object ever explored. Here's what to expect.

Sunday, Dec. 30

New Horizons Beyond Pluto: What Lies in Ultima Thule's Realm?
As NASA's New Horizons probe nears its second target, we investigate what's lurking at the edge of the solar system.

Saturday, Dec. 29

How to Watch New Horizons' Ultima Thule Flyby on New Year's Day: A Webcast Guide
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is about the make the most distant planetary flyby in the history of spaceflight, and you can follow the action live.

Friday, Dec. 28

NASA's New Horizons Ready for Historic Flyby of Ultima Thule in the Kuiper Belt
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.

Thursday, Dec. 27

Experience New Horizons' Encounter with a New World using Mobile Apps
At 12:33 a.m. EST on Jan. 1, 2019, a robotic emissary of humankind will fly past a never-seen-before world in the outer solar system. Here's how to watch with mobile apps.

Wednesday, Dec. 26

Encounters with Distant Worlds: An Interview with New Horizons' Alan Stern (Exclusive )
New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern discusses the mission and its Jan. 1 flyby of the mysterious, distant object Ultima Thule.

Saturday, Dec. 22

Government Shutdown 2018: How It Affects NASA
The United States government just shut down for the third time this year, and a lot of NASA employees will be staying home as a result.

Friday, Dec. 21

Ultima Thule Shines a Puzzling Light As New Horizons Spacecraft Approaches
There's something weird going on with Ultima Thule, the distant object that NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will fly by just 10 days from now.

New Horizons May Make Yet Another Flyby After Ultima Thule
NASA's history-making New Horizons spacecraft may not be done with deep-space flybys after its highly anticipated New Year's Day encounter.

Thursday, Dec. 20

Track NASA's New Horizons Flyby of Ultima Thule with Free Pluto Safari App
The free Pluto Safari app let New Horizons fans track the probe's flyby of Pluto in 2015, and now it's set to follow the journey past the distant body Ultima Thule on New Year's Day.

A timeline of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft on its way to a Jan. 1, 2019 flyby of Ultima Thule after visiting Pluto in 2015. (Image credit: All About Space)

Wednesday, Dec. 19

New Horizons Spacecraft on Target for Superclose Flyby of Ultima Thule
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will indeed get very close to the mysterious, distant object Ultima Thule on New Year's Day.

Monday, Dec. 10

You Can Beam a Message to NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft for Historic Flyby!
NASA's New Horizons probe is getting set for the farthest-out flyby in history, and you can provide some words of encouragement to help the spacecraft get across the finish line.

Ultima Thule in Sight! New Horizons Probe Snaps New Photo of Its Target
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has beamed home another glimpse of the distant, icy body it will zoom past just three weeks from now.

Thursday, Oct. 25

'It's Going to Be Historic': New Horizons Team Prepares for Epic Flyby of Ultima Thule
In less than 10 weeks, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will explore the most distant target ever visited by a spacecraft. Mission team members don't know what to expect — and that's part of the fun.

Here's an overview of the solar system for NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, the first mission to visit Pluto and the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule (2014 MU69). (Image credit: All About Space)


More coverage

Engine Burn Puts New Horizons on Track for New Year's Flyby of Ultima Thule
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft successfully completed a brief engine burn on Oct. 3, the first maneuver in which it was able to rely on actual photographs it had already taken of its eventual target.

New Horizons Sails Through 'Final Exam' Before Ultima Thule Encounter
NASA's New Horizons team has passed its 'final exam' ahead of the probe's Jan. 1 flyby of the distant object dubbed Ultima Thule.

After Pluto, New Horizons Probe Draws Near to Its Next Target: Ultima Thule
The history-making New Horizons spacecraft, which famously zoomed past Pluto in July 2015, is now just 80 million miles (130 million kilometers) from its next target, a small and very distant object dubbed Ultima Thule.

New Horizons Spies Its Next Target Beyond Pluto — from 100 Million Miles Away
The New Horizons spacecraft is on its way to a distant solar system object and has spotted its destination — on its first try and from more than 100 million miles (170 million kilometers) away.

New Horizons Team Aims to Get One Last Look at Flyby Target
The handlers of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft are gearing up for one last shadow-chasing adventure.

New Horizons Spacecraft Wakes Up to Prepare for Historic Flyby of Distant Object
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has woken up from hibernation to prepare for a historic New Year's Day flyby.

Gravity Assist Podcast: The Kuiper Belt, with Alan Stern
What's the next stop for NASA's New Horizons spacecraft? Jim Green finds out as he talks to the mission's Principal Investigator, Alan Stern.

New Horizons, Meet Ultima Thule: Probe's Next Target Gets a Nickname
The New Horizons spacecraft's next flyby target now has a nickname befitting the object's exotic nature and locale.

Gravity Assist Podcast: Pluto, with Alan Stern
NASA's Planetary Science Division Director, Jim Green, talks to Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute, who is the Principal Investigator on NASA's New Horizons mission, which flew past Pluto in July 2015 for the Gravity Assist podcast.

New Horizons Team Unveils Extended-Mission Patch
If you needed another reminder that a historic deep-space encounter is just around the corner, well, here you go.

Surprise! New Horizons Probe's Next Flyby Target Has at Least One Moon
When NASA's New Horizons spacecraft arrives at its next destination in 2019, it may find more primordial objects than NASA had anticipated: Researchers have announced that the probe's next target, an icy object known as 2014 MU69, may have at least one moon and could even host a swarm of natural satellites.

New Horizons Probe Wakes from 5-Month Slumber
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is zooming through the outer solar system with its eyes open once again.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.